DANIEL LEE HITTLER,
84, of Cass City, died peacefully on November 6, 2019. He was born May 23, 1935 in Toledo, Ohio to Lawrence and Mary Jane (Sullivan) Hittler. Dan moved with his family to Dearborn, where he graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1953. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Detroit. He met future wife, Jane Hunter, at a Fourth of July picnic, where she was serendipitously paired with the tallest student there. They were married August 10, 1957 in Mt. Pleasant, a year after Jane graduated from Mercy College. Their first of nine children was born a year later.
After graduating as an ROTC officer, Dan served active duty at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve for another six and a half years before being honorably discharged.
Dan and Jane moved from Redford to Lathrup Village after the birth of their fifth child. They were active in the St. Bede Catholic Church community, Lathrup Village Swim Club, scouting, University of Detroit Jesuit High School, The Lathrup Village Supper Club, and their children’s many athletic and academic endeavors.
Dan started his career as an automotive engineer at The Ford Motor Company. Three years later, he accepted a position at American Motors Corporation. He culminated his 16-year tenure at AMC as director of the engine engineering group. He was recognized for developing the 4.0 liter, six-cylinder, aluminum engine—a high-performance engine that remained a stalwart of the Jeep line for many years. When AMC was bought by Renault, Dan learned French and traveled frequently to France.
In 1986, Dan accepted a position with the Walbro Corporation and moved his family to Cass City. He ultimately served as chief administrative officer and corporate secretary. After London-based TI Automotive acquired Walbro in 1999, he was named vice president of administrative engineering, overseeing intellectual property. He was a career member of the Society of Automotive Engineers International, served on its board of directors for multiple terms and was elected a Fellow in 1993.
Dan and Jane were highly engaged members of the Cass City community, which they consider home, for 30 years. He was active in Boy Scouting, serving as district chairman and earning the Eagle Scout Court of Honor distinguished service award. He was named to leadership roles in St. Pancratius Catholic Church, Cass City Knights of Columbus, Hills & Dales General Hospital board of trustees, the school district and many local service clubs.
In his free time, Dan loved to play golf, downhill ski, run the annual Cass City 5K race, make wine (and occasionally sip it), keep a meticulously landscaped lawn and be of service to others. He and Jane moved to Caretel of Tri-Cities in 2016, where they are beloved. He was a hero to his kids and will be greatly missed.
Dan is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jane Aquin (Hunter) Hittler; nine children, William (Donna Watz) Hittler of Plymouth, MN; Anne (Scott Taylor) Hunter of Nellysford, VA; Joan (Joseph) Hammell of Minneapolis, MN; John (Radhika Mohandas) Hittler of San Jose, CA; Paul Hittler of Bloomfield Hills; David (Laura) Hittler of Magnolia, TX; Robert Hittler of Perrysburg, OH; Mary (Daniel) Scott of Lathrup Village; Karen (Brian) Nicolay of Advance, NC; and sisters Susan (William) Child and Mary Lou (Donald) Jankowski. He is the proud grandfather of 26 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Funeral service held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 16, 2019 in Our Lady Consolata Parish, St. Pancratius Catholic Church, Cass City. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to University of Detroit Mercy, Dan and Jane’s alma mater. Family and friends may share memories, prayers and stories with the family at www.kranzfuneralhome.com.
Visitation: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, November 16, 2019 in St. Pancratius Catholic Church
Kranz Funeral Home, Cass City, Michigan
Debra L. Kranz (989) 872-2195