Submitted by his Wife
John Eastman ‘Dawg’ Lietzke
Olivet Fire Department – Michigan
Date of Death: September 25‚ 2007
My husband‚ John‚ was a wonderfully complex man. He was a loving husband; a wonderful father‚ stepfather and grandfather; a much loved son‚ brother‚ and uncle; and a truly loyal friend.
From all outward appearances‚ he was big‚ strong‚ and athletic: a man’s man. But he was also gentle‚ loving‚ caring‚ and considerate. He was fun-loving‚ with a loud‚ infectious laugh. A big kid at heart‚ at times he could be downright goofy.
‘His girls’ were the center of John’s world. When it came to family‚ he was a big softy. No matter how busy he was‚ he would always make time for his daughters’ fieldtrips‚ concerts‚ athletic events‚ or coaching their softball team‚ and quality time with me.
Inside‚ ‘Dawg’ was an adventurous spirit‚ willing to try just about anything. On his 40th birthday‚ he learned to skydive. Together‚ we traveled extensively in and out of the country. His love for working out was apparent from his strength; he could bench press 280 pounds. An avid bowler‚ he had several 300 games‚ but was an even better golfer‚ consistently scoring in the mid to high 30s.
Working hard was a way of life for John. For 26 years‚ he was a plumber/pipefitter/welder‚ but his passion was firefighting. Originally‚ he joined the Olivet Volunteer Fire Department as a younger man‚ but was forced to quit when he moved out of the area. However‚ his desire to return to firefighting never diminished‚ and he often spoke of those experiences. Several years later‚ after returning to the area‚ he once again became a proud member of the OVFD.
On the night of September 25‚ 2007‚ John was responding to one of those emergency calls during a severe thunderstorm. Just after cresting a hill‚ on a dark country road‚ John struck a large tree spanning the road that had been knocked down by torrential rains and extremely high winds. He was killed instantly.
The world has lost a truly remarkable man. The men and women of Olivet Fire Department‚ John’s family and his many‚ many friends were indeed fortunate to have known this man. The world is a much poorer place without him.
John‚ we will always love and miss you.