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Walter H. Misch Jr. left us on July 7th, 2018, surrounded by family, at the age of 90. Wally passed away in the home that he built as he wished, just as his wife, Doris did in 2014. Wally was born in Illinois on January 3rd, 1928, within a suburb of the "mean streets of Chicago" as he often remarked. His zest for life was apparent, arriving earlier than expected, defying odds of that time. He was the eldest child of Walter H. Misch Sr. and Amanda Misch (Malik). He was preceded in death by both of his younger siblings, Donald Misch and Joan Konrath. Also preceding Wally in death were his beloved wife, Doris and two children, Karoline just an infant in 1967 and Donna in 2015.
Although Wally did not graduate from high school traditionally, he would remark that he graduated from "The School of Hard Knocks". Wally enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 17, serving his country proudly for nearly 7 years. He was trained as a machinist's mate and ranked as a Second Class Petty Officer prior to his honorable discharge. Wally served aboard several ships, most notably a minesweeper and the Comstock LSD-19, which he was proud to report earned 10 battle stars for it's role in the Korean War. Serving in both the end of WWII and the Korean War, Wally honed his given talent for machine repair and other mechanics as well as becoming quite talented with various firearms. Wally believed it to be his "privilege" to serve his country and would've made the Navy his career choice, however he was needed back home to assist his father and uncles at Misch Manufacturing. He worked for and eventually became a partner in this business with his brother, Don and cousin, Bill.
Misch Manufacturing is where Wally met his future wife, Doris. They enjoyed a brief courtship and then eloped, taking a road trip to visit his brother on Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. To hear the story was always delightful and romantic. Wally told Doris to "grab a suitcase" and "get into the car". They arrived and were married on September 30th of 1952. They were married for 62 years prior to Doris' passing. They had four children- Donna Jean, Diane Jean, Kristine Jean and Karoline Jean. For well over 50 years they made their home on Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Michigan. This is where they shared many memories and great times. Despite living on the lake, Doris pinched every penny she could while Wally worked hard at the shop to ensure their children could go to college.
Wally also enjoyed mastering any hobby he decided to attempt. He would hunt both locally and in Montana for many years. He shot competitively, receiving numerous awards and accolades. When Wally was approximately 40 years of age he stumbled upon flying. His love of airplanes and tenacity for flying earned him a private pilot's license. He flew or as he liked to say "punch holes in the clouds" until his mid eighties, achieving logged air time at nearly 4000 hours. He was also one of the founding members of the Mishawaka Pilot's Club. He additionally went fishing with his wife frequently in Canada and locally on the lake they loved so much.
Wally also belonged to many notable clubs. This included the Freemasons, earning his 32nd degree and thus becoming a Shriner. He was a member of both the VFW and American Legion. Wally was stoic in his belief that Constitution provided the 2nd amendment and therefore became a member and supporter of the NRA. This is a small portion of other organizations that he supported.
Wally attributed his longevity to "hard work" and the occasional drink of Jack or a Manhattan. He was still working at the family business up until a few short months ago. Living life to the fullest, often made Doris very nervous. If an opportunity arose to try something new, he would indulge. His mantra was live life with "no regrets" and "you only get one trip, you can never go back".
Surviving are two daughters: Diane J. (Dan) Rodkey of West Lafayette and Kristine J. (Denis) of Edwardsburg. He also leaves behind five grandchildren: Tara Pousson, Alaina (Sister Maria Teresita), Johanna Rodkey, Mitchell (Kayleigh) Roeder and Stefanie Roeder. Walter was also blessed to have four great-grandchildren: Noah, Neah, Nicoletta and Paxton.
On Saturday, July 28th 2018 at 0900, a gathering for family and friends will be held at Palmer Funeral Home-Guisinger Chapel, 3718 S. Michigan Street, South Bend, IN. This will include a ceremonial farewell conducted by the Mason's as well as remembrances of relatives. Immediately following this visitation full military honors will be displayed at Southlawn Cemetery. Wally will be interred along with his wife, infant daughter Karoline and their beloved dog, Guido. Please note this is a "dual" service as Doris was waiting on Wally to be laid to rest.
The family would like to thank everyone who assisted, visited or offered their condolences. Caring Circle Hospice was very much appreciated, ensuring Wally was comfortable and at peace.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Wally and Doris' name to either Caring Circle Hospice (of Lakeland Health Care) or to The Shriner's so they both may continue their mission of helping others. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com
****If there are any members of the military in the community who would like to attend the graveside service you are welcome to come and say goodbye to one of your own. Fair winds and following seas.
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