Harold Leonard Walters 83, passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side at Luther/Mayo Hospital in Eau Claire, WI. on March 26th. Harold was born to Albert and Helen Walters on October 17th, 1939 in Albertville, WI and was raised on a small farm in southern Chippewa County on Highway 29. He attended Sunnyside Elementary school in Chippewa County and Chippewa Falls Middle and High Schools. As a teenager his family moved to Eau Claire, where he later graduated from Eau Claire Senior High School in 1957.
Shortly after graduating high school, he enlisted in the US Navy where he served as a Machinist Mate. He served ten years on active duty, sailing often throughout the Pacific and Asiatic waters in the mighty Destroyer ships known as the "Tin Can Navy." Harold served onboard three different destroyers: USS Ernest G. Small (DD-838), USS Trathen (DD-530) and the USS Lowrey (DD-770), where he achieved the rank of 1st Class Petty Officer (MM1).
Harold was a soft-spoken man with a strong and fast work ethic that few could keep up with. As a young man he was instilled with a strong sense of honor, devotion and patriotism and had a deep sense of duty to protect and preserve the freedoms of his country. He often spoke fondly of his military service and his Navy buddies and was especially fond of the days he got to spend in Japan, where he fell in love with the culture and picked up some of the language. In 1967, after serving his country with pride and receiving several service awards, he earned an honorable discharge and returned home to raise a family. In addition to serving in the Navy, he later joined the US Army reserve where he served his country for an additional 10 years.
In 1964 Harold married Judith R. York and together they raised three children on the southwest side of Eau Claire (Brunswick), in the same house where he grew up in as a teen. Through the years Harold worked at Luther Hospital and later at St. Joseph's Hospital in Chippewa Falls as the Director of Plant Services.
Harold is best remembered for his love, dedication and commitment to his family and for the dozens and dozens of friends he made through the various organizations for which he volunteered his time. His love and dedication to his family was extremely strong as he spent his early fatherhood with his children, actively leading them in several years of 4-H activities and instilling his strong work ethic into each of them. He spent time with them traveling, vacationing, hunting, camping and sharing with them his love for the great outdoors.
In his later years he took his love of country and dedicated it to his fellow veterans, spending many years serving them and their families around western Wisconsin through his involvement and leadership positions with the Eau Claire American Legion, Post 53. He was very dedicated to all who served in the military, participating in Veterans Day parades, Memorial Day events, Honor Guard, bingo and many other events.
Harold also had more hobbies than most people could ever imagine. He loved to travel to various historic war sites, he was an avid reader and had his own library of military and politically conservative books. He also loved gardening, yard work, competitive trap shooting, reloading all types of ammunition, tying fishing jigs, darts, white tail, turkey and goose hunting and war reenacting. He owned a collection of Civil War, WWI and WWII uniforms, tents, weaponry and numerous other artifacts, which included a 1914 WWI Ford "Lorrie" troop carrier he built in his shed from parts he purchased from around the country. He also loved to shoot his civil war cannon, which could be heard for miles. Harold's reenacting work and period uniforms were so authentic that he and several of his reenacting buddies were invited to be part of the 1993 Civil War movie "Gettysburg."
Harold was a war historian and loved to teach the history of war and politics to anyone that would listen. He had an uncanny ability to recall the smallest of details of just about any battle of any war and everyone often marveled at the stories he would tell. Harold also enjoyed wood carving, gun building, gun collecting, building antique cars and engines (Model T's) and he was the quintessential handyman, always referring to himself as a "Jack of all trades but master of none." In reality, we all learned a great deal from his vast knowledge and talents. He was a hard act to follow.
In his later years he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and his group of breakfast club buddies. From all of his Veteran friends- we wish you Fair Winds and Following Seas.
Harold was preceded in death by his parents Albert and Helen Walters, step-father Tony King, and daughter Heather Walters.
He is survived by his loving wife Judy of 58 years; children Karl (Suzi), Melissa Haller and Mindy (David) Nyseth; siblings Darlene (Gene) Close, Janice (Jack) Nelson, Bob Walters, Jeff Walters, and Connie Walters Gomm. Grandchildren: Nathan (Katie) Walters, Jacob (Nancy) Holmberg, Seth (Alom) Walters, Katie (Caleb) Horner, Abby Nyseth (Luke Kasten), Garrett Haller, Maddy Haller, Kaleb (Ali Koel), and Thane Nyseth. Great grandchildren: Soren Walters, Arlo Walters, and Julian Holmberg. He is further survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of memorials, please make donations to the the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Chippewa Falls. Please make checks payable to CFHRC Inc. at Chippewa Falls Home Recreation Committee, Inc. 2175 E Park Ave Chippewa Falls, 54729-3511.
The memorial service will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2023 at St. John's Church, 1804 Highland Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701. A visitation will be held at the church on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service.
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
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