Brian Jerome "BJ" Hitzemann

ORANGEVALE, Calif. — Brian Jerome “BJ” Hitzemann, 63, a long-time resident of Orangevale, Calif., passed away on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at his home with his partner in life, Cynthia Wheat, by his side.

He was born on Oct. 24, 1948, to Rose and Russell Hitzemann in Reed City. He also was mothered by Darlene Hitzemann. BJ graduated from Reed City High School and went on to join the U.S. Army shortly after, where he proudly served two tours in Vietnam. After his honorable discharge from the service, he married Mary Lou Wetherall, and together they had two sons.

He attended Ferris State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting. After moving to California, he began his career as a CPA. He later separated from Mary and met his life partner Cynthia, who he spent 20 very happy years with.

BJ was preceded in death by his father, Russell Hitzemann; and brothers, Mark, Clark and Wayne. His mother, Rose, passed away the day following his death.

He is survived by brother, Don (Jeanie) Hitzemann; sister, Charlotte; sons, Bret Jay Hitzemann and Brad Jay Hitzemann; and five grandchildren, BreAna, Braylee, Gillian, Hailee and Arianna. He also is survived by Cynthia’s two daughters, Alyssa Powell and Mandy Meitzen; and three grandchildren, Derek and Cameron Powell, and Alexis Meitzen. He also left behind many friends and extended family.

BJ was known as an easy-going man, who always had a smile on his face. He had no enemies and impacted every person who came through his life. He was known for his signature quote, “Keep smiling.”