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Paul Fredrick Sitz
(03-23-1939 - 09-20-2020)

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Paul Fredrick Sitz, 81, passed away on September 20, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. Paul was born in Chicago March 23, 1939, and grew up in Mundelein and Barrington, Illinois. He graduated from Barrington High School as Valedictorian when he was sixteen, received his BA in International Relations from Dartmouth College in 1960 and his MFA in Graphic Arts from the University of Chicago in 1962. In 1965 he began a Masters in Far Eastern Art History at the University of Chicago.

Paul was a career educator, beginning his teaching career in Tanzania with Teachers for East Africa, where he worked in a boys’ boarding school from 1962-1965. He went on to teach art at Elgin Academy for five years, then ceramics and sculpture at Judson College. Paul worked several years as the Kane County film librarian until he joined U-46 in 1978, teaching Art at Streamwood High School. Later, he joined the Social Studies Department, where he remained until his retirement in 2003. At Streamwood High School, Paul became a well respected scholar, teaching a variety of subjects, including U.S. History, World History, American Studies, Economics, and Sociology. For many years, Paul served as technical director of the theater, designing sets and lighting schemes for productions, as well as running the sound and lighting systems in the auditorium for events on evenings and weekends. In U-46, Paul also worked to improve education for the students in his department, his school, and in the district as a whole, serving on several major committees, including the School Department and Curriculum Committees at SHS. He was active in district wide curriculum development and evaluation as well.

In addition to being a passionate educator, Paul was also an artist. He worked in a variety of media, creating everything from still lifes in oil to modernistic sculptures and ceramics. In the last 15 years of his life, Paul concentrated on photography. Paul learned carpentry from his father and worked several summers in construction during college. He could make, build, or paint most anything. He was highly regarded in the community as a scene designer and painter, having designed sets for Elgin Summer Theatre at the Hemmens, and then for both Elgin Community Theatre and Independent Players. Paul was also a skilled musician. He began with the piano, and by age 12 he served as an organist at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Barrington. He continued to play the organ for a variety of congregations through graduate school. Paul also played the trombone in the band at Barrington High School. At home, Paul enjoyed playing a wide variety of music on the piano, from show tunes and Scott Joplin to classical music and hymns. He also sang in a variety of choirs, including at his own church, Bethlehem Lutheran, his wife’s synagogue, Congregation Kneseth Israel, and the Elgin Master Chorale.

In the community, Paul was an active member at Bethlehem Lutheran Church for 49 years. In addition to playing trombone and handbells for special services and singing in the choir, Paul served on the church council, was a member of the endowment board, assisted with the Youth Group, and was a lay reader and counter. Paul’s most memorable contribution to Bethlehhem was using his skills in ceramics to teach several generations of first communion students to make their own chalices, using his own supply of clay and glazes and firing the finished chalices in his kiln.

Paul was a member of the Golden K Kiwanis Club and his wife’s champion in her theater and poetry activities. He participated as a reader in several poetry programs at Gail Borden Public Library, and he willingly took small acting roles in plays she directed, his most recent performance in Rosenstrasse for the Jewish Theatre of Elgin, at Congregation Kneseth Israel.

Paul and his wife were infinitely proud of their 1926 Craftsman Style bungalow, featured in Elgin’s Historic House Tour in 2019. Struggling with the aftermath of complications due to cancer, having his home included in this event was Paul’s last major contribution to the community he had loved and served since moving to Elgin in 1968. This was a culminating event in Paul’s life as a Renaissance man.

Paul is survived by his wife of 53 years, Gareth (nee Mann); three children: Paul David, Kyra Sitz Doherty (Terrence), and James Frederick; five grandchildren: Devin Sitz, Brenna Sitz, Connor Sitz, Declan Doherty, and Finnian Doherty; and sister, Virginia Muller, a niece Heidi Muller, a nephew Hans Muller (Jennifer), and two grandnieces, Katja and Zoe Muller. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the U-46 Educational Foundation, the ACLU, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, or Congregation Kneseth Israel.

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