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
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.