Walter Straka, lifelong resident of Brainerd and the last Minnesota Bataan Death March survivor, passed away peacefully on July 4th, at the St. Cloud VA Hospital at the age of 101. Walt and his wife, Cleta, spent the early years of retirement traveling all over the US in their motor home. They eventually settled in Pharr, TX, where they wintered for 36 years. Walt liked to fish and greatly enjoyed a cabin on Lake of the Woods for many years. He was passionate about cards, spending many evenings around a card table playing double deck pinochle with his sons, Peter and Greg.
Walter is survived by children, Marsha Kate Haaf (Duane), Greg (Anita), Paul (Molly), Elizabeth Miles (Mark), Peter (Julie), and Sarah Porter; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; brother, Jim; sister, Helen; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Cleta; daughter, Jane; and grandson, Willie.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Walt and Cleta will take place at 11:00 a.m., Monday, July 12, 2021, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Brainerd. Father Anthony Wroblewski will preside. Visitation will be two hours prior to Mass beginning at 9 a.m. at the church. Interment with Military Honors will take place at 2:00 p.m. at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Camp Ripley.
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