WBØOAA - December 10, 2009 |
Walter Grande |
Col. Walter Grande, 87, of Kent Washington passed from this world December 10, 2009 in Scottsdale AZ after a valiant battle with cancer. Born March 20, 1922 at his family home in Everett Mass to Donato and Elvira Grande.
The youngest of 3 he grew up as the son of Italian immigrants. Having lost his father at the age of 14, he helped support his family by getting up daily at 4AM and helping the local horse-drawn milk wagon make their daily deliveries. He attended Everett High School where he met the love of his life and wife of 65.5 years, Elinore Margaret Schwerdt. After graduating high school in 1940 he apprenticed at a local machine shop until his sense of duty and patriotism compelled him to volunteer for the Army Air Corp and serve his nation during the Second World War.
Completing Aviation Cadet training and earning his military pilot's license, he taught the free French how to fly, and during this time he and Elinore were married. After the war he remained in the Air Force Reserves and worked as a journeyman brick layer until he was recalled to serve during the Korean Conflict. After tours of duty in the US and Japan the Air Force afforded him the opportunity to earn advanced degrees in Civil Engineering at Cal. Berkeley where he specialized in Soil Mechanics. He was responsible for the definition and design of the ground facilities required for the XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber. He spent 4 years at the Pentagon as editor of the US Air Force Civil Engineering Handbook, taught Civil Engineering at the Air Force Academy, served in Vietnam, was the base Civil Engineering Commander at Vandenburg AFB and Dean of the Civil Engineering College at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Paterson AFB. During his 30 year career in the Air Force, Walter earned many distinguished decorations including in the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit.
After retirement he and Elinore pursued their passion in life by traveling this great nation and beyond by motorhome, visiting family and friends. As a natural leader, he held officer positions in many of the organizations and associations to which he belonged. Walter was an avid amateur radio operator and used the radio to keep in touch with his family and friends from wherever they were.