Vituary: Walt

Sometimes you don’t appreciate someone until

you mature.

Walter has been a part of my whole life, regardless of whether I wanted him in it. I can remember telling him that he was not my dad from a very young age.

What a telling thing to yell at an adult. Just the act of thinking it and verbalizing it means that that person plays some approximate role similar to your father.

Uncle Walter, as we called him before he became Papa, loves to tell the stories of me walking around as a little girl with grapefruits in my blouse saying that I was going to look like Dolly Parton one day. He still threatens me with twins…or I should say curses me with twins.

But Walt is a loyal, trusted, and much loved part of our family and has been for years.

It all began with a glider port he and my father owned. He and my mom became fast best friends soon after meeting. He was there for everything from then on. He came up to the lake on weekends to help my over wrought mother with her four children. He attended all family events. He even became a Girl Scout.

Originally from Kentucky, he went to military school, served in Vietnam, and then worked as a machinist for Delta until he retired. He read the whole Wall Street Journal every day he worked there before work.

When we moved to Portland, he visited on all holidays. And when my parents finally divorced he helped support my mom and my siblings during the divorce going back to work after having retired to help his family.

Eventually moving to Montana to be with his family, he and I shared shifts taking care of my mom as she battled cancer. He had nights, I had days.

After my sister had Tanner and my mom died, Walt became Papa to Tanner. Tanner is the only kid from Montana who sounds like he is a Confederate. Walt continued to support Erica, helping her raise Tanner, effectively the fifth child’s diapers he has changed.

Once in college, I had gotten in over my head in credit card debts. My mom was broke, so I was forced to call this person who was not my father, with whom I often fought with, to ask for a loan. He did it without hesitation. He saved my ass.

John went to flight school in Oklahoma. He arrived broke to start school, but Walt was not far behind, making sure that John had food and money to focus on school.

To this day, whenever anyone of us has needed him, he has been there for us. I hope he knows that I am there for him too.


Erica said...

This made me cry. How true it all is.

Maureen said...

What a great tribute to a very special man! He makes a big impact on everyone's life, doesn't he??