Our Heavenly Father called home a wonderful man today.
How grateful I am to have been blessed to have this incredible man in my life as my Papa. He was the kindest man and had a heart of gold. I have so many fond memories that I will later share.
Mr. Don Fredrick Walz, age 79 years, of Jackson, Mo., formerly of Jefferson City, Mo. passed away Friday, September 17, 2010 at Jackson Manor in Jackson, Mo.
Don Walz, a beloved husband, father and grandfather, was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City, Mo. on October 27, 1930, the fourth child of Milo H. Sr. and Esther Beck Walz. He attended Trinity Lutheran School and was a 1948 graduate of Jefferson City High School. Don went on to graduate from the University of Missouri-Columbia with degrees in Business and Finance. During this time he began a 60 year career with Milo H. Walz, Inc., a company founded by his parents, Milo H. Sr. and Esther Walz, in 1923 on the Southside of Jefferson City.
After graduating from college, Don entered the United States Army as a finance officer and was stationed in Ft. Lewis, Wa. during the Korean Conflict. Although serving during war time, he enjoyed the opportunity to see the Western part of the United States and make life-long friends. It was his time in the Army that he discovered his passion for snow skiing. He also shared that passion with his wife, Norma, and they enjoyed many trips to Colorado.
After serving his term with the United States Army, Don returned to Jefferson City and joined his father’s company, Milo H. Walz. Each one of his siblings had their own niche in the company and Don’s was Hardware. In 1963, he and his family opened Walz True Value Hardware which stood on the Southside until 1997. In the late 70’s they expanded the hardware business to Holts Summit. One of Don’s greatest prides was the expansion of the Jefferson City Hardware store in 1987. He enjoyed working with the staff and spending time with his customers.
On January 16, 1965, Don married the love of his life, Norma June Smith. Together they raised four children; Rick, Denise, Donna and Steve.
During his career, Don served as Secretary of Milo H. Walz, Inc and President of Walfam, Inc which included development properties of Millbrook and a development track on Missouri Boulevard. He also managed M & E Enterprises and other various companies that were involved with Milo H. Walz, Inc. In 1996, Don and his brother Bob sold the retail businesses in Jefferson City and Columbia and retired. Milo H. Walz was a permanent fixture on the Southside of Jefferson City for over 73 years. Don served as the President of Milo H. Walz Real Estate until his death which encompassed properties both in Columbia and Jefferson City. Milo H. Walz, Inc. operated in Jefferson City, Columbia, Osage Beach and Holts Summit.
Don also found time to serve his community that he loved so much. Don was a charter member of Faith Lutheran Church. He served as the President of the Faith Lutheran School Board and spent many years as part of the choir. He joined the Jaycees in 1954 and in 1961 was elected president. He and his brother Milo (Bud) were co-chairmen of the Jaycee Cole County Fair. They were instrumental in moving the fair from Industrial Drive to the location where it now stands on Fairgrounds Road. He along with many others started the Trinity Lutheran School Alumnae Association. He felt fortunate to serve as President for 2 terms. He served in many capacities in the Southside Business League along with his father, brothers and sister. In 1978, he served as Vice-President of the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce. He was also elected to a two year Board of Director position for Memorial Community Hospital. Don took great pride in serving the Jefferson City community for the majority of his life.
In 1971, Don was asked to join the Western Association for Hardware and Implement Dealers. He served as their President as his father had before him. In 1975, he was elected to the National Retail Hardware Association Board of Directors. He served on the board for 12 years and was elected as President in 1986. That same year, he was asked by the International Ironmongers Association to speak in Stockholm Sweden on retailing practices which was one of the greatest highlights of his professional career. While on the national board he served a year with the Mueller Foundation. Don retired from the National Board in 1990 after 15 years of service.
Don was a gifted pianist, painter and singer and an avid Missouri Tigers and South Florida Bulls fan. He had a passion for traveling, especially snow skiing which he enjoyed until he was 75 years old. He enjoyed golfing with his cousin, Elroyd, and gardening. He loved water skiing and spending time at the Lake of the Ozarks with his family. His greatest love was enjoying his grandchildren. They were the light of his life.
In 2009, Don and Norma moved to Cape Girardeau, MO to be near their daughter. Don was currently a member of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau.
Don is survived by his loving wife of forty-five years, Norma; his four children, Rick Thrash and wife Amy of Jefferson City, Denise Willroth and husband Mark of Jefferson City, Donna Ward and husband Todd of Jackson, MO and Steve Walz and wife Shelley of Tampa, FL.
Don and Norma were blessed with 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren: Missy Holmes and husband Lee and children Rylee and Reece of Jefferson City; Anna Thrash of Columbia, Tom Thrash of Jefferson City, Charley Thrash of Columbia, Henry Walz of Tampa, FL and Lily Ward of Jackson, MO. There was truly no Papa loved as much as Don Walz was by his grandchildren.
Don is also survived by brother James Walz and wife Marinell of Jefferson City; a sister, Ruth Downey of Texas; sister-in-laws, Claudia Walz, Janet Walz Urzi; and his “7th” brother Elroyd Renfrow all of Jefferson City.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Milo Sr. and Esther Walz; his beloved sister, Doris Walz; and brothers and sister-in-law’s, Milo H. Walz Jr (Bud) and Pat Walz, Herbert Walz, Robert Walz Sr., Jim Downey, Richard “Dick” and Gerry Walz, and Susie Renfrow.
A visitation will be at Freeman Mortuary from 4:00 until 7:00 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2010.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am Thursday, September 23, 2010 at Faith Lutheran Church. The Reverend Tony Alter will preside over the service to celebrate Don’s life. Graveside services and interment with full military honors will be held at the Walz family plot at Riverview Cemetery.
Pallbearers at Don’s services will be Steve Walz, Rick Thrash, Mark Willroth, Todd Ward, Tom Thrash and Charley Thrash, and Honorary Pallbearer is Don “Henry” Walz.
In lieu of flowers, Don had requested any contributions be made to Faith Lutheran Church and the National Alzheimer’s Association and Southeast Missouri Hospice.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Freeman Mortuary.