1928 - 2021
Franz Lotz passed away on February 16th due to complications from Covid. He was 92 years old, and lived a full life, filled with love and laughter. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Franz was born December 6th, 1928 in Yugoslavia (now Croatia) to a German family. His father was a tailor and a sharecropper, and though it was a struggle for his parents to raise 9 children, Franz always remembered the happy times. His family left Croatia in 1944 to return to Germany. Wartime was difficult, and Franz spent his 17th birthday as a Prisoner of War. Upon his release, he went to work as a milkman, and this is how he was introduced to the love of his life, Selma Rau. He always swore he fell in love with the prettiest girl at the dance. They married Christmas Eve, 1948 in Becklingen, Germany.
Life was not easy for war refugees in Germany, and wanting better opportunities for their new family, they set sail in 1952 in search of the American Dream. They brought their young daughter, Inge, along with Selma's mother and youngest sister. They came ashore in New York in June, 1952, and took a train across the country to meet their sponsor family in Napa, California.
They worked hard to build their new life in the Napa Valley. Franz learned how to clean carpets and install flooring, eventually establishing a family business, Lotz Carpets. Their family grew with the addition of four sons, Werner, Henry, Allen, and James. Franz loved his family more than anything else. They camped and fished and spent time on their boat. He was happy to watch his children grow, and thrilled when grandchildren started arriving.
Almost as much as his family, Franz loved to dance. You'd find him on weekends at Little Switzerland in Sonoma, dancing to every song. He taught his granddaughters to polka, and fights ensued over whose turn it was to dance with grandpa. When a waltz came on, he always hoped for a turn with Selma. When he retired, he and Selma spent several years traveling, visiting nearly every state in the country, and stopping at a few polka fests on the way.
Franz had an incredible gift to always see the bright side of things. He knew that having a positive attitude was the key to success in a sometimes difficult world. He taught his family the value of work, to embrace adventure, and to dance and laugh at every opportunity. The twinkle in his eye will always be remembered.
He was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Selma Lotz and his daughter, Inge Peterson. He is survived by his sons Werner (Julianne), Henry (Debbie), Allen (Linda), and James (Jan), son-in-law Nick Peterson, and grandchildren Dawn Harry, David Peterson, Eli Lotz, Tamra Lotz, Angela Anderson, Matthew Lotz, Daniel Lotz, Elizabeth Eichelberger, Jason Lotz, Christina Lotz, Kevin Lotz, and Janelle Lotz. In addition, he was blessed with 12 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandsons.
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