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Life Story / Obituary
A Memorial Mass and a Celebration of Walter's Life will take place at a later date. Please check back for the dates and times of these events. Thank you
Deeply committed to his family, Wally Aebischer’s life will be remembered as both loving and selfless. Equipped with a strong work ethic, a great sense of humor, as well as an ability to work alongside a wide variety of people over the years, led to many successes throughout his life. Although he will be deeply missed, Wally leaves behind a rich collection of wonderful memories for all who knew and loved him.
Despite the Thirties being marked by tough economic times, the decade also saw an expansion of new technologies. By 1937, Amelia Earhart took off from Miami attempting to achieve a flight around the world and California’s Gold Gate Bridge was completed. Bringing great joy to his loving parents, Walter Charles and Virginia (Kaminski) Aebischer, Walter Charles, arrived on February 12, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois. Born the oldest of three children, his birth brought them the promise of hope in an ever-changing world.
Wally lived a typical childhood of the times. He was raised with a strong foundation of faith and attended parochial schools. Active throughout his teen years, he entered the world of work right after graduation. After working various jobs, he served his country proudly in the United States Army. Later, he landed a job with Pittsburgh Plate Glass. This position was a perfect match for Wally as he liked to work with his hands and was naturally talented in working in the area of construction. During this time, he met the love of his life, Susan Zito. She was instantly smitten by his charming personality and striking good looks. More importantly, she fell for the genuine kindness of his heart. After dating for about a year, the happy couple joined in marriage on September 22, 1962, at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Together they raised two wonderful daughters; Laura and Catherine.
By 1978, the family relocated to the Kalamazoo area where Sue had family that lived in the area. Wally saw this as an opportunity to raise the girls in a slower paced smaller town setting. He eventually moved the family to the neighboring city of Portage where they would call home. It was a house full of love, laughter and good memories. As a father, he was strict but fair. He instilled in each of his children the importance of honesty and integrity. They look back on these years with fondness knowing that his no nonsense set of rules and boundaries were out of his love for them. They cherished the time they spent around the dinner table together as well as their many treasured childhood vacations to places such as Florida, South Haven, and Mackinac Island. He modeled for his children a lifetime of hard work as well as a strong devotion to his faith. With his vast knowledge of commercial construction and his meticulous attention to details, he was very successful over the years as a project manager for the Miller-Davis Company. Wally took great pride in his work in construction and whenever the family would return to visit the Windy City, he liked to point out some of the famous Chicago landmark projects he worked on during his younger years. After twenty remarkable years with Miller-Davis, he retired in 1999.
Wally held a vast array of special interests. He owned a white 1966 Mustang Convertible that was truly his baby. Since 1983, he took meticulous care of the car until just this past year he won first place at the Ron Wiser car show. Known for his ability to repair and fix just about anything around the family home had earned him the nickname, Rudy the Repairman. Much the same way he cared for his car, he took great pride in his home and enjoyed having a well manicured lawn. Wally always led a healthy lifestyle and would eat anything that Sue would fix for him. Yet, come summertime, he took over as the grill master as he loved to grill and barbecue! Social by nature, he had a close group of friends that would get together each and every Monday evening. When the weather was warm they would get together at Old Mill Golf Course for a round of golf. In the colder months they would play cards. He and Sue had would get together with a group of friends on Saturday evenings at Zeb’s Restaurant in Texas Corners. They would enjoy the company of friends over dinner as well as plenty of laughs around the table! He and Sue also maintained their strong commitment to marriage and foundation of faith by attending weekly Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church where they were longtime members.
As much as he relished in his years as a father, he took great pride in his role as a grandfather to Taylor and Chelsea. Close-knit with each of them, he was honored to have the opportunity to walk Taylor down the aisle on her wedding day, September 22, 2018, which was the same as Wally and Sue’s. Described as a hard worker, generous, as well as loving, Wally will surely be missed by his many special friends and loved ones. He liked routine, was well organized and somewhat private, yet always shared his dry sense of humor and quick wit whenever he was surrounded by those he loved. May his loved ones always feel his warm presence whenever they are gathered and may his memories endure forever in their hearts for many years to come.
Walter Charles Aebischer, age 83, of Portage, Michigan, died at his home after a brief illness, on Friday, March 27, 2020. Members of his family include his wife, Susan; two daughters; Laura Smith and Catherine Aebischer (John W. Jacobs); two grandchildren; Taylor Smith (Dan Merkle) and Chelsea Smith; a sister, Virginia Cowger; and special nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. A Memorial Mass and a celebration of his life at the funeral home will take place at a later date. Please visit Walter’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, or the ASPCA.