Wallace “Wally” Edward Green, 90, of Whitewater (formerly of Fort Atkinson) entered eternal life on Monday, August 3, 2020 at Fairhaven Retirement Center just one day shy of his 91st birthday. Wally was born in Carroll, Iowa on August 4, 1929, son of James and Henrietta (Krause) Green.
Wally grew up in Whitewater, Wisconsin and often claimed he “ruled the streets.” Truth be told, he readily admitted he wasn’t the best student so it’s possible he did rule the streets in the rough and tumble days of the post-depression years. He had quite a sense of humor and didn’t take himself too seriously, joking the only good thing coming out of Whitewater was Highway 12.
Wally’s lifelong passion for ice fishing was matched only by his flair for telling fish(y) tales. One tale that was actually verified by eye witnesses involved falling through the ice which, according to him, was the mark of a true ice fisherman.
Before ice fishing there was baseball. Wally turned down a professional tryout with the Chicago Cubs minor league team to stay home with his ailing father. Or possibly the Cubs thing didn’t work out because he was a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. No one really knows for sure except maybe his wife, Ethel, who spent her honeymoon in St. Louis watching the Cardinals play ball.
Wally proudly served in Korea as a member of the US Coast Guard during the Korean War and returned to Whitewater and his job at General Motors in Janesville. During his career at General Motors, he was ultimately promoted to safety inspector and, apparently, could “shut the plant down if something didn’t pass [his] inspection.”
On May 3, 1958, Wally married Ethel Britzman at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Helenville. That was a pivotal moment in his life and actually quite a stroke of luck for Wally since initially Ethel hid in the bathroom at the Edgewater Supper Club just to avoid him. They were married nearly 56 years until Ethel passed away on March 17, 2015.
Wally had many jobs in his life from pin setting in a bowling alley, to a job at a dry cleaning business, to cleaning at the Dwight Foster Public Library, to servicing funerals for Kutz Livery Service. He often referred to himself as “Wally Work,” although Ethel was known to question that nickname. His longest working stint was at General Motors from which he retired in 1979 at the age of 49. He collected a pension longer than he collected a paycheck and was well aware of his good fortune, fondly referring to his past employer as “Generous Motors.”
After giving up his baseball aspirations, Wally played softball for many years, managing a team in the “over 30 league” in Fort Atkinson. He loved all sports, including bowling, boxing, and…gambling. He twice won an appearance on TV for his lottery efforts. His quip of “I’d rather be lucky than good” will forever be remembered.
Wally was a member of Bethany Ev. Lutheran Church for many years. He served for a time on the church council and was a faithful attendee and usher until he moved to Fairhaven Retirement Center.
Wally spent his last five years checking out every aspect of the services at Fairhaven. He moved into an apartment, transitioned to assisted living, was cared for at Hearthstone beginning in January, and spent his final days on the skilled nursing floor. He was grateful for the kindness of staff and the family wishes to thank Fairhaven for the special care they gave him every step of the way throughout his final chapter.
Wally is survived by daughters, Julie (Dale) Schmeling, Connie Meyer (Jim Jorgenson), and Shari (Pete) DeWind; grandchildren, Taylor (Bobby) Siebert and Jennifer Schmeling (fiancé William Meerbott), David (Lauren) Meyer and Meredith Meyer, and Claire and Alyssa DeWind. He was blessed with three great-grandchildren, Finn Siebert, Zion and Ruby Meyer. Also surviving are nephews, Keith (Sandy) Hoffman and Brian (Angela) Hoffman of Jefferson; niece-in-law, Christine (Ron) Wahlquist of Connecticut; brother-in-law, Bill Fuchs of Jefferson; cousin Donna (Jack) Taylor of Idaho; and longtime friend Karen Mepham of Fort Atkinson. Wally was preceded in death by his wife; his parents; his step-brother, John Perry; a grandson, Zachary Jensen; a nephew, Alan Hoffman; sister-in-law, Loretta Fuchs; and Don Mepham, best friend and partner in crime.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial gift to Fairhaven Retirement Community (Whitewater), Rainbow Hospice Care (Jefferson), or Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church (Fort Atkinson).
The Dunlap Memorial Home is assisting the family. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, private graveside services at Evergreen Cemetery will be held for immediate family only.
Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)