Walter Samuel Jeske 1927 - 1998 memories and photos
Walter in 1941
1927-1998

Friends and family called him Wally or Walt or Papa Wally.

Walter Samuel Jeske was born on 1 June 1927 in Detroit, Wayne, MI, the oldest child of Samuel and Theresa Maria (Oelenkamp) Jeske. He weighed 13 lbs. at birth.

During his childhood, his family moved many times to different Michigan cities. Walter attended schools in the Detroit area when he was older. A cousin of Walter's who lived across the street from the Joseph Schulte family invited Walter to a birthday party where he first laid eyes on his future wife, Rosemarie Schulte - he was then 7 and she, 5.

Walter was raised in the Baptist faith. His mother had been raised Catholic, but belonged to Baptist churches after marrying. Walter converted to the Catholic faith before he married Rosemarie. His instruction in the faith was from Father Joseph Jacyna and Father Walter Schoenherr at St. David's in Detroit.

He began military service in May 1945 at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, IL. He served in the SeaBees and was stationed in Rhode Island, California, Guam and Manus Islands in the Pacific. Letters Wally and Rosemarie wrote each other during the Second World War can be found on another web page on this site.

After returning from overseas, Wally took flight lessons at Detroit City Airport, usually flying an Aeronca 7AC and less often a Cub J-3 or Piper J-3. He once convinced his mother to go up, but Rosie accompanied him more often, after he'd had lots of practise doing take-offs, landings, spins, slips, stalls, pylon eights and chandelles. His flights were usually local, but also included trips to Flint and Ann Arbor. These lessons ended in March 1947, when Wally decided they were an extra expense he could no longer afford.

Walter Samuel Jeske married Rosemarie Jacquelyn Schulte, daughter of Joseph Francis Schulte and Sadie Mary Trombly, on 7 September 1949 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Roseville, Macomb, MI. Father McScherry performed the wedding ceremony at a 9:00 a.m. Mass. Afterwards, Rosemarie and Walter traveled throughout Northern Michigan for their honeymoon. They were the parents of six children.

Walter Samuel Jeske and Rosemarie Jacquelyn Schulte renewed their vows on 16 April 1989 at St. Thecla in Mt. Clemens, along with many other couples; Father DiGiulio said the 10 o'clock Sunday Mass. A reception followed in the parish hall. Rosie and Wally, along with their children and grandchildren, celebrated 40 years together at the Fern Hill Country Club on Clinton River Rd.

Walter was a retired Quality Control Engineer for General Motors. He had also, as a young adult, helped his father-in-law build houses and worked at a small tool and die shop on Groesbeck called Warren Plastics & Engineering.

Wally and Rosie enjoyed art and musical shows and traveling with the Larchwood Neighbors Card Club. Their travels included many continental States, Canada, England in 1976 for the Wood Badge 50th Reunion at Gilwell Park, and Hawaii in 1979. Trips with their children were to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the fall of 1955 and in the 1960's in their camper trailer - with the family dog, Frostie, along - to Wisconsin and northern Michigan.

Walt's boyhood enthusiasm for Scouting continued as an adult and he participated in a great many camping trips and jamborees. He was a Boy Scout leader for many years, serving as a chairman on various committees, merit badge counselor and council executive board member. He earned many awards, including Wood Badge, the Society of George and Scouting's highest honor, the Silver Beaver. Part of his Scouting collection was donated to Scout Councils and Museums. He also volunteered for the Knights of Columbus and St. Thecla Catholic Church.

Every Christmas Wally strung many lights on the house, even in the most wretched weather, clad in an earflap hat and his old flight jacket. Putting up the Christmas tree was an elaborate multiple day affair. Rosie and Wally made many trips to Frankenmuth Michigan, a year-round Christmas oriented town, to purchase ornaments, and acquired more when they traveled elsewhere. Figurines and other objets d'art were collected enthusiastically by Wally and displayed in many curio cabinets.

Wally's range of temperament was exemplified by his portrayal of both jolly Santa for his young children and later at the Malls, and as the gruff Scrooge in a local production of The Christmas Carol. He could get riled, but Rosie would do or say something funny to bring a smile back to his face. And like Scrooge, Wally kept Christmas in his heart.

In early 1977 Wally was in a serious car accident. A passing motorist pulled him from the wrecked car moments before the front end caught fire. His left leg continued to cause him pain the rest of his life. In later years he walked with the use of a cane, then used a wheelchair. In addition, he was frequently in and out of the hospital due to his heart disease, often during holidays and especially after moving to their new home in 1991. At one point he fruitlessly had surgery in the hope of strengthening his back to get him out of his wheelchair, for which he had to wear a halo for two months. Rosie cared devotedly for her invalid husband, coping during the trying times in her jocund way.

Walter died on 17 April 1998 at home in Clinton Township, at age 70, from congestive heart failure.

His funeral Mass was on 20 April 1998 at St. Paul of Tarsus Catholic Church in Clinton Township. Pallbearers were sons Alan and Robert Jeske, grandson Bryan Shipway, son-in-law Robert Kopacz, nephew Kevin Schoel and Rosemarie's cousin Claudia's husband, Bill Grill. He was buried on 20 April 1998 at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township beside his wife. In September 2000, Wally and Rosie's youngest son, Robert, died of a heart attack and was buried near his parents.