Wallace Whittaker, 81Wallace Whittaker died at the Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria on his 81st birthday, May 6, 2012.
Wallace Whittaker died at the Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria on his 81st birthday, May 6, 2012.
Wally was born May 6, 1931 in Alexandria to Charles Whittaker and Hazel (Nelson) Zauner. He graduated from Alexandria Central High School in 1949 and went on to join the Army. On November 11, 1950, while still in the service, he was united in marriage with Gloria Lundgren of Alexandria.
Following Wally’s honorable discharge, the couple moved to Northfield where Wally worked on a farm with his uncle, Art Nelson, for two years. In 1952, Wally, Gloria and their first two children, Jacqueline and Bruce moved to St. Paul, where Wally began a 33-year career as an appliance technician for General Electric. In 1959, the family moved to Rochester, where Wally operated a General Electric service center. In 1965 Wally and Gloria moved with their now seven children to Coon Rapids, where they lived for 40 years until Wally retired from General Electric.
Wally was an outstanding employee for General Electric and loved his work. He reluctantly retired from GE in 1993. Shortly after retirement, he noticed an involuntary twitch in his finger. The test results revealed that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Despite the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s, Wally continued to use his superior mechanic skills to volunteer his time fixing appliances free of charge for those who could not afford to hire a repairman. Wally also volunteered a great deal of time working with Meals on Wheels, delivering food to those who were unable to leave their homes. Wally never spoke of the services he did. He was a quiet man who lived his life with humility and compassion for others.
In addition to his dedication to his family and his work, Wally was an outstanding athlete and enjoyed sports. He played various sports competitively in high school. This competitive spirit and attention to physical fitness was an integral part of his life. Wally played volleyball for Peace Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids and organized a team for the Coon Rapids Athletic Association, which allowed him time to play volleyball with his sons and good friends until the effects of Parkinson’s forced him to stop.
In 2004, Wally and Gloria moved back to their hometown, Alexandria, and built their dream home on the lake. Wally enjoyed years of fishing and spending time with his grandchildren on the lake. He was also a member of Calvary Lutheran Church and the Golden K Club.
He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Jacqueline Whittaker; mother, Hazel Zauner; stepfather, Joe Zauner; sister, Margaret Nowicki; and brother, James Whittaker.
Wally is survived by his wife Gloria; children, Bruce Whittaker of Minneapolis, Sue Whittaker of San Diego, CA, Janet (Daniel) Wilson of Chandler, AZ, Bill (Glenda) Whittaker of Albuquerque, NM, Dan (Beth) Whittaker of Forest Lake, and Doug (Sherri) Whittaker of Hudson, WI. Wallace is also survived by his grandchildren, Jay, Gina, Marie, Jordan, Ryan, Tyler, Chandra, Luke, Alexandra, Scott and Julie; great-grandchildren, Zachary and Keira; brother, Warren Whittaker; sister, Gladys LaValle; and many nephews, nieces and dear friends.
Memorial services were held on Thursday, May 10 at Calvary Lutheran Church with the Rev. Hans Dahl officiating. Music was provided by Kim Byrne. Honorary pallbearers were Wally’s grandchildren, Jay Whittaker, Gina Donnelly, Marie Whittaker, Jordan Whittaker, Ryan Whittaker, Tyler Whittaker, Chandra Dickinson, Luke Whittaker, Alexandra Wegman, Scott Whittaker and Julie Whittaker. Inurnment was at Geneva Cemetery in Alexandria.
Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria; www.andersonfuneral.net.