Henry "Hank" John Itzen, 85, of Brookings, died March 14, 2008, at his residence of natural causes. He was born Aug. 1, 1922, in Herman, Minn., son of Nanno W. and Agatha (Bartell) Itzen.
He was raised on the family farm. Following high school, he continued to farm with his parents. He met his future wife, Margery Wollam, at a church choir practice. They bought their own farm and worked it until 1955, when they moved to Smith River.
Mr. Itzen drove a school bus for a number of years, then bought a share in the Brookings Plywood Mill. He also helped the Wollams on their daffodil and Easter lilly farm. In 1961, the family moved to Brookings. The Itzens purchased the Wollam farm in the 1960s.
Mr. Itzen continued working full time at the mill in addition to operating the bulb farm. In 1974, he formed a partnership with his sons, Kelly and Robin, forming Henry Itzen Bulb Farm. They began expanding the operation from 3 acres of lilies to 80 acres and more than 80 employees.
In 1985 they were joined by sons David and Bill.
Mr. Itzen was still active in maintaining the properties and tractor mowing until last fall.
He was a past member of the Brookings Planning Commission and the Board of Directors of Del-Cur Supply. He was also a past member of the Brookings Elks Lodge BPOE #1934, the Pacific Bulb Growers Easter Lilly Research Foundation, and the Grange.
Survivors include his wife, Margery W. Itzen; sons and daughters-in-law, David and Susan Itzen, Kelly and Debra Itzen, Robin and C. Kelly Itzen, and William and Benita Itzen, all of Brookings; brothers and sisters-in-law, John and Lois Itzen of Pennsylvania; Donald and Peggy Itzen of Texas; and sister-in-law Marion Itzen of Minnesota; sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and Dan Reeverts of New York; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by brothers, Nano "Bud" Itzen Jr., Ronald Itzen, and George Itzen; sisters, Rose Itzen, Bertha Spaise, Dorothy Spaise and Ellen Itzen.
A celebration of life is tentatively planned for April 5. Arrangements are being handled by Redwood Memorial Chapel.