On Saturday, November 23, 2019, Sigfrido “Fred” Gutierrez Batista, loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away at age 87.
Sigfrido was born on June 13, 1932. On June 19, 1972, he married Carolina “Carla” van der Zijden. They raised two children, Monica and Adrian.
Sigfrido had a twin sister and spent his childhood in Regla and Havana, Cuba. Sigfrido devoted his life to physical fitness and athletics, with a tremendous passion for gymnastics. Sigfrido competed and earned winning medals in mens’ gymnastic events at the Pan American Games representing Cuba. Soon after this, Sigfrido embarked on his dream of a life in the United States. Quickly after this relocation, Sigfrido was drafted to the United States Army where he served for two years as a skilled sharp shooter and a tank driver. Following his armed service experience, Sigfrido pursued a career in physical education and taught at the YMCA and Boys’ Clubs in Chicago before devoting over 27 years as a physical education teacher for St. Peter School in Skokie, Illinois. Due to the dedicated physical education programming he initiated and maintained, Sigfrido was recognized on numerous occasions for his efforts in cultivating the most physically fit children in the country. When Sigfrido was not teaching, he was coaching, officiating and offering yearly memories with an elaborate gym show designed for each grade in the school to further highlight their physical skills and capabilities.
Sigfrido had a passion for painting, fishing, bowling and golfing. He was known for his warm smile, silly jokes, strength, guidance, unwavering love, and an overwhelmingly kind and compassionate spirit.
Sigfrido was preceded in death by his father, Angel, his mother, Delores and his sister, Walkyria. He is survived by his wife Carolina, his two children, Monica and Adrian, his granddaughter, Alexandria, his grandson, Adrien, son-in-law, Dean and daughter-in-law, Alyssa, cousins and godchildren. A funeral service will be held at the Sarasota Veteran Cemetery, Sarasota, FL on Monday, December 2nd at 3pm. A Memorial Gathering will be held on Saturday, December 7th from 1pm to 5pm at Haben Funeral Home, 8057 Niles Center Road, Skokie, IL 60077.