Walter F. Hermerding, a proud Air Force veteran and adored father and grandpa, passed away at his home on Monday, May 11, 2020. He was 90.
Walter was born on April 24, 1930 in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, the son of Walter and Matilda Hermerding. He was raised in Howard Lake.
When he was 17, Walter began his 21-year service to his country by enlisting in the United States Air Force. During the Korean War, he bravely fought on behalf of the United Nation forces. He also served during the Vietnam War. After the war, he served in the Air Force Strategic Air Command, flying B-47's, B-52's, and B-56's. His specialty was radar bombing and navigation. In 1968, Walt retired as a Chief Master Sergeant.
While stationed at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., Walter met and fell in love with Carolyn Jeremias, a naval secretary. They married and started building a life together. During their time in the military, they were stationed in Japan, and then numerous locations around the United States.
After he retired from the Air Force, Walter and Carolyn returned to Minnesota to serve their community. After 20 years of federal service, Walter retired as the United States Corps of Engineers supervisor of the Crosslake Dam.
Walter and Carolyn enjoyed the slow life of northern Minnesota after moving around the world while in the service. On their 84 acres in Crosslake, Walter filled their basement with fruits and vegetables from his hobby farm and ceded the rest of his land to nature. During his 44 years on the property, Walter planted over 20,000 trees, providing a home to his beloved deer, turkeys, beavers, and an occasional bear.
Walter spent his retirement in the company of his 6 amazing grandchildren. He nourished them with wilderness knowledge, fishing and hunting lessons, endless tinkering, and dinosaur-shaped pancakes. He reaped their eternal love and admiration. His patience, understanding, stubbornness, vivacity, and cheekiness live on in them.
Walter was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn; parents, Walter and Matilda; sister, Delores, and brothers, Donald and John. He is survived by his son, David; daughter-in-law, Kathleen Maloney Hermerding; daughter, Mary Haugen and her husband (and Walt's hunting buddy), Rich; grandchildren, Joshua and his partner, Amy Tran, Benjamin, Maya and fiancé, Joseph Wells, Brendan, Mariko, and Malia; brother, Leland Hermerding; sister, Darlene (Don) Dammann; his significant other, Alvina Olson; and granddogs, Duke and Waldo.
Walter will be laid to rest at the Veteran's Cemetery at Camp Ripley on Friday, May 15, 2020. Because of the health concerns associated with the coronavirus, services will be limited to immediate family at the gravesite. Memorials to the Brainerd American Legion Post 255, recognizing the bravery of Walter and the other women and men of all branches of the armed forces, or the Crosslake Historical Society, would be greatly appreciated by his family.
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