Wally passed from his earth life Fri Sept 20, just after ten a.m. I was notified by Tom Geary who called to talk with Wally that morning. I had spoken to Wally twice the day and evening before, and he was very aware that his earth journey was about to end. To the last he maintained his sharp brain thinking mind, his sense of humor, and his strong character. Wally was the consumate gentleman and invariably thought of the best interest of others. He was a peaceful warrior. Tom Geary and I spent several days with him recently in Washington State, and it was a constant stream of laughter. How many recall that Wally did not attend classes his senior year at Bradford, as he had completed all requirements for graduation the year before? He spent much of his senior year riding his bicycle between Kenosha and a medical school library in Chicago where he could indulge his interest in biochemistry. Although he ventured into the high tech industry he always fashioned himself a chemist. Wally contracted AML, a virulent form of leukemia, diagnosed on June 30 , 2013. Being the scientist that he was he approached it as a problem to solve and engaged in the pursuit of a cure. He tried many treatments, and never gave up on that quest, even after he went into hospice.
In my mind Wally is remembered as an empathic and understanding soul, intellectually gifted, and passionate about physical culture long before it became popular; he was among the vangard in that area. Coach Jaskewicz told him he had the upper body strength that Alan Ameche had in his legs, a pretty damn good compliment.
Laughter, gentleness, and intellectual acumen are his legacy.
Mary Irving (Jurgaitis)
Wonderful comments, Tom. Even though I wasn't part of his circle, I liked reading what you said about Walter.
It makes me sad to hear of Wally's passing. I was happy to spend some time with him at our 50th Bradford class reunion. My deepest symmpathy to his family for their loss at such a young age. May he find peace as well as his family during this trying time.
My thanks to our friend Tom Sorenson for the wonderful ulogy of Wally's life. I know Gary and Tom were true friends to Wally especially in sharing his last year through his illness. It is sad to hear of recent passing of so many of our classmates since our 50th reunion...not realizing how short life can be from one year to the next. Thanks again Tom for informing us of Wally's passing.
Nancy Walton (Julien)
As Bernie said - it is so hard to hear of so many of our former classmates dying. For those of us who have been away from Kenosha for years, our school classmates are still 12-16 years old in our minds and hearts. That is how they are thought of and remembered - not as 50, 60 or 70 - but 12- 16 years - and no one should leave this life at that young age. What we who are still in the 'school' frame of mind need to remember that many of the folks who have died had also lived very loving and full lives even though we weren't a part of them after 1961 - God Bless all of our Friends and their Families, and we will forever remember them as 12-16 years of age in our Hearts. Good Bye Wally <3
Eva Poole (Gilson)
I was so sorry to hear of Wally's death. I remember him at age 16 or 17--as Nancy said, and I feel like I knew him then--mostly from laughing. He was funny, but unfortunately I can't remember exactly any of the funny encounters with him. I think I was in a number of classes with him, and I seem to remember that he was very good at math. Does anyone else remember that?--or something else really SPECIFIC about him in school?? I didn't know he was sick, and I did see him at the 50th, and I remember thinking he looked quite different from how I remembered him; I should have realized he was sick.... But I didn't.... Rest in peace.
I concur wholeheartedly with Tom Sorensen's accurate and eloquent description of Wally's character. Let me expand a bit on a facet of his personality to which Tom alluded: Wally was a character.
Unlike many who are described as having danced to a different drummer, not only did Wally not cultivate his uniqueness, I'm convinced that he wasn't aware of it at all. Whether it was bicycling to his grandfather's house (a sixty-mile round trip on a track bike with no brakes) or getting up at oh-dark-thirty on a cold school day to go trapping with Teddy Jensen, his activities were unknown to most, befuddling to a few, and infinitely logical to Wally himself.
I'm grateful that I, along with Tom and JoBetty Sorensen, had the opportunity to spend some time with Wally a few years back at his home in Washington, and that he elected to attend our fiftieth so that he could reunite with the many classmates who knew and loved him.
Thinking of him will always make me smile.
Cherie Krohn (Ketchum)
Sally, What a beautiful eulogy to your husband! I only knew Wally slightly - enought to say "hi" to but not much more. Seems I missed knowing a fine person. But as we "age", it seems that even those on the edges of our high school experiences become closer because we are all trying to hold dear any memories of those "happy days". May you find peace in your cherished memories!
Suzette Arnoldini (Englund)
Like Cherie, I too have just read Wally's wife Sally's sweet eulogy for him. How wonderful to be at such peace when it is our time to leave this life. What a remarkable guy Wally was, and as others have said in their expressions about Wally, great memories of a time that was way too short, but oh so much fun. Growing up in Kenosha at the time we did was such a gift, and knowing each other back then forged eternal bonds and great love really. I am so glad Wally mde it to some of our class reunions and always will remember him especially at Lincoln Jr. High. So cute with a great smile, fun personality...and all that blond hair. So glad he was with Sally and that they shared a good life together.