Bemidji business owner, champion race car driver dies
John Seitz was on a snowmobiling vacation in Idaho when he died, apparently in his sleep, Sunday. Seitz, 36, was owner with his father, Wes Seitz, of Wes' Plumbing & Heating in Bemidji. He also was a nationally known champion stock car racer....
John Seitz was on a snowmobiling vacation in Idaho when he died, apparently in his sleep, Sunday.
Seitz, 36, was owner with his father, Wes Seitz, of Wes' Plumbing & Heating in Bemidji. He also was a nationally known champion stock car racer.
"He was racing when we took over," said Mel Hayes, who has owned Bemidji Speedway for the last five years. "He was Wissota National Super Stock Car Champion. After he won the national championship in super stock, he went into the Late Model Division. That's the elite division, the highest you can go."
Hayes said Seitz took fifth place nationally in the Late Model Division in 2005.
"He was a very good friend," Hayes said.
Two weeks ago, Seitz helped organize a National Late Model Racing Association charity stock car race on Cameron Lake in Erskine.
The 20-20 Racing Page Web site has a forum with 201 expressions of regret and sympathy posted for the driver's death. "Goodbye John. You were a great racer and friend. RIP 92," is the heading for the forum.
Wendell Gregg, office manager at Wes' Plumbing & Heating, said he worked with Seitz for five or six years and found him considerate and personable. He said Seitz coordinated work assignments, bidding jobs and payroll.
Gregg said Seitz had a good day snowmobiling Saturday with friends. They had supper and he went to bed at about 10 p.m., Gregg said. The next morning a buddy went into Seitz's bedroom and found he had died, apparently of natural causes. Seitz is survived by his wife, Amity, and sons Zach and Nick.
"That was the worst of it -- he was so young," Gregg said.
The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Philip's Catholic Church. A visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji and one hour prior to the service at the church.