In Memoriam: Bruce J. Walthers, 1919-2007

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
#1
I just found this across the street, in case any of you haven't heard the news...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bruce Walthers Passes on January 28, 2007

It is with great sadness that I must tell you that my Father, Bruce Walthers,
Chairman of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. passed away on Sunday morning.

His leadership, insights, and wisdom will be sorely missed.


J Philip Walthers
President, Wm. K. Walthers, Inc.




In Memoriam Bruce J. Walthers, 1919-2007

Bruce J. Walthers was born in Plymouth, Wisconsin, on September 9, 1919 and left
this world at his home in Solana Beach, California, on January 28, 2007, after a
valiant battle with multiple cancers. He was preceded in death by his dear wife
Barbara (nee, Banach) in 1991. Survived by loving wife and caregiver Marcia
(nee, Obloy), six children of Bruce and Barbara: Bruce (Pat), Joanne Barsanti
(John), J. Philip (Carole), Peter (Cathy), Judith, and Thomas (Jeanette), 13
grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Also survived by a brother William
(Geri), and sister Peggy Hooper (Jim). A sister, Dorothy Mae Bellew, died
several years ago.

Bruce was actively involved in many different industry, civic and church groups,
often serving as their diligent and hard-working President. A graduate of South
Division High School, Milwaukee, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bruce
served in the Navy during WWII as a meteorologist on Kwajelein Atoll in the
South Pacific. After active duty, he continued to serve in the Navy Reserves at
the Glenview Air Station achieving the rank of Commander.

Bruce s civilian career spanned 60 years at Wm. K. Walthers, Inc., a
manufacturer of model railroad equipment founded by his father in 1932. He
became President in 1958 and under his leadership the company became the largest
distributor of model railroad products in the world. He successfully
transferred the family business to the third generation in 1984, remaining
active as Chairman of the Board of Wm. K. Walthers, Inc. to the present. He was
a Board member and served as President of both the Model Railroad Industry
Association and the Hobby Industry Association of America (HIAA). The HIAA
awarded him their highest honors, the Meritorious Award of Honor and Lifetime
Membership in recognition of his many years of service and significant
contributions to the industry.

Bruce was a lifelong learner and mentor to others. Early in his business life
he overcame a fear of public speaking by completing the Dale Carnegie training
course. He used his new skills to help others do the same, both as a Dale
Carnegie volunteer leader and later as an alumnus of the program. As a member
of the HIAA Board, Bruce was often designated at the national meetings to
interact on behalf of the association with the celebrity performing that year.
He had fond memories of sparring on stage with Joan Rivers, Mel Torme, Bill
Cosby, George Burns, Joel Grey, Alan King, Julie Budd, Vic Damone, and Billy
Crystal. As the President of the Milwaukee chapter of the Council of
Independent Managers and Organizer and President of the National Council of
Independent Managers, he helped to strengthen the expertise of countless small
business owners. A community leader, he served as a Board member of Cardinal
Stritch University and Board member and President of St. Anthony s Hospital.

In retirement, Bruce was a frequent traveler, and participated in numerous
Elderhostel programs. He stayed active by bicycling, researching family
genealogy and serving as Board member and President of condominium associations
in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, and Solana Beach, California. He was a founding
member of Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay, served as President of the Holy
Name Society and was a Parish and Regional Chair of the Catholic Family
Movement. At St. James Parish in Solana Beach, he was actively involved as an
Associate of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudist Community), a Lector
at Sunday Mass, and facilitator of a Small Church Community Group.

Memorial liturgies will be held at St. James Parish in Solana Beach, California,
and Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Funeral arrangements are
being made through Greenwood Mortuary, 4300 Imperial Ave., San Diego, CA 92112.
In lieu of flowers, the Walthers family would appreciate any donations that are
made in Bruce s honor to go to St. James Catholic Church (Solana Beach, CA),
Holy Family Catholic Church (Whitefish Bay, WI) or the Eudist Community (The
Congregation of Jesus and Mary).
 



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