Walter Wolchik, 90, passed away at his home in West Springfield, Pa., Monday morning, June 2, 2014. He was born March 3, 1924, in Parsippany, N.J., and was the son of Michael and Katherine (Zeblecavich) Wolchik.
A member of the "greatest generation," Walley fought in World War II, with the 401st Bomb Group out of Deenethorpe, England. He was a Bombardier with the 612th Bomber Squadron, and flew 11 missions over Germany, France, and Belgium with a crew of nine other young men.
On September 30, 1944, on a mission to bomb Munster, Germany, the bomber known as the "IP," with Walter and his crew on board, was hit by enemy "FLAK." With two engines out and a third engine on fire, the crew bailed out. Several crewmembers were injured and had to have help from Walter to get out of the plane. Once on the ground, all of the crew were eventually taken prisoner. Some of them were actually detained and threatened with death by German civilians. The Navigator evaded capture for seven days! The seriously injured were taken to local hospitals.
Walter and other officers of the crew were taken to Stalag Luft I (POW Camp 1) at Barth, Germany. In June, 1945, after eight months of prisoner life, Stalag Luft I was liberated from the Germans by the Russian Army. The POWs were then flown back to England before returning to the United States. Following his discharge, he was in the Reserves for 15 years.
Walter was employed at the former Marx Toy Company, and General electric. He was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, and a 46-year member of American Legion Cowle Post #151 in Conneaut, Ohio, where he liked to have a "scotch." He was a 25-year fireman/paramedic with the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department.
Walter was an avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, and enjoyed gardening. Most of all, he and his wife enjoyed building their home together, which he had started prior to joining the Air Force, and then for three years on summer weekends. They were married on August 27, 1949, and enjoyed more than 60 years of marriage.
He is survived by his daughter Robbie Ann (Lance) Smith and children Jared and Morgan of Conneaut, Ohio. Also surviving are cousins Diane and Larry Wolchik, Lorraine Fortini, Wayne Carr, Sherri Carr, Pat and Brie Wolchik, and Joan Clements and her children Gail and Linda.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Janet L. Wolchik on December 5, 2009; and a son Kim Christopher.
Calling hours will be from 3 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 6, 2014, at the Marcy Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 208 Liberty St., Conneaut, Ohio. There will be no funeral services observed.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 79, East Springfield, PA 16411. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
Published in the Erie Times-News on June 6, 2014