Walter Horst Mathieson, 71, of Council Bluffs, passed away March 28, 2013.
Wally came from Germany with his mother to Duluth, Minn., as a young teen not speaking English. He enrolled in Duluth Central High School and graduated at the age of 19, then joined the US Air Force on December 9, 1960. On December 21, 1967, on a combat mission against unfriendly ground forces over in Vietnam, Wally risked his life to extinguish a fire saving the crew and aircraft. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery and he served 21 years in the Air Force retiring as a Master Sergeant on October 31, 1981. Soon after retiring, he went to work at Area 51 in Nevada but after a few years returned to Minnesota in 1985.
In 1987 he moved to Council Bluffs, and worked at Bingo King in 1989. This is when he met James Owens. They became good friends and 1984, Wally moved in with the family, as he would say; his family. He became a big part of the family and always sat at the head of the table. Wally felt that the person who sat at the head of the table was the head of the family. He helped raise the children and looked after them as a Grandfather should. As Wally put it, this is my family. He also helped with 23 extra children through the years that had passed in and out of the house needing a family.
Walt was preceded in death by his parents, James and Hildegard (Fett) Mathieson; and a grandchild, Hodges Harris.
He is survived by his son, James and Karen Owens; grandchildren, Matt, Hodges, Mike, Jimmy, Nick, Allyn, Dajaun, Taja, Stephen and Dennis; and over 23 great grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, 10 a.m., at Maher-Livingston Funeral Home with Military Honors by The Offutt Air Force Base Honor Guard.
This obituary was originally published in The Daily Nonpareil.