Walter L. Stirm, 87
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Walter L. Stirm, 87, of Westminster Village, West Lafayette, died on Tues, November 5, 2013 in the Village's Health Center. Born during a blizzard on January 4th, 1926 on a farm near Brandon, Iowa, he was the son of the late Henry and Ella Stirm. His military service was with the U.S. Army Air Corps, 20th Air Force 101st Weather Wing from 1945-1947 and five years with the Navy Defense Department from 1952-1956. Schooling began at a one room rural school at Shady Grove, Iowa, then Brandon High School and a B.S. degree from Iowa State University. Advanced degrees followed with a Masters and PhD received from Purdue University in 1970 and 1986. On August 21, 1954 he married Kathryn Lenz from Loretta, PA (who survives) in Hillcrest Heights, MD at Holy Trinity Church. They had been married for 59 wonderful years. They are parents of three children: Brian H. Stirm (wife Judy) of Delphi, IN; Nadine LS Sheppard (husband Dr. Ronald) of Fishers, IN; and Randall M. Stirm (wife Vicki) of Brookston, IN. There are five grandchildren: Zachary, Alexa and Parker Sheppard; Taylor and Brenton Stirm. Also surviving are a sister, Dorothy Boldt of LaPorte City, IA and a brother, Marlin Stirm of Ankeny, IA. There are also many nieces and nephews. Preceded in death were a sister, Mabel; two brothers, Ralph and Clyde Stirm; and parents, Ella and Henry Stirm.
Professional employment for Walt was initially with the U.S. Navy Hydrological Office as a marine meteorologist and oceanographer at the Ocean Forecast Center of Suitland, MD (projects involving Navy sea ice and wave forecasting as well as flying ice reconnaissance for DEW LINE, defense early warning system establishment in Arctic regions). Then as a 38 year career employee with the National Weather Service, he worked five years in Defense Meteorology in Battle Creek, MI (National Radiation Fallout and Disaster programs). Then he worked five years in Kearneysville, WV in Agricultural Meteorology serving a four state Fruit Growers program and the balance of the years in West Lafayette, IN with a similar five state program as the Meteorologist - In- Charge. While in West Lafayette, he was closely associated with Purdue University as a lecturing staff member of the Agronomy Department. Some of the awards he received include a WW II victory meal, U.S. Dept. of Commerce Bronze Medal for weather services, Outstanding Master Gardener and the Sagamore of the Wabash awarded by Indiana Governor O'Bannon.
After retirement from the Weather Service in 1987 he was self-employed as an assistant to the Delphi Airport Manager and as a volunteer for the Purdue University Visitors Information Center. Other volunteer activities were with the Master Gardener programs, Indiana State Fair Judges team, National Association of Retired Federal Employees officer, a leader for the Purdue Horticulture greenhouse tours and a frequent speaker on weather for schools, businesses and service clubs. His greatest achievement in retirement was mowing 40 acres of grass routinely at the Delphi Airport for over 20 years.
He was a member of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in West Lafayette and active as a long time choir and parish council member. He and Kathy have lived at Westminster Village for close to 10 years.
Mr. Walt , as he was affectionately known , belonged to many organizations in his lifetime including: Sigma Xi fraternity; American Legion Post 38; Purdue Alumni Association; John Purdue Club; Iowa State Alumni Association; American Meteorological Society; National Association of Retired Federal Employees ; Tippecanoe County Master Gardeners Association. He also was an avid Purdue sports fan!
Funeral services will be on Monday, November 11, 2013 conducted by Father David Buckles at Blessed Sacrament Church with visitation from 9 -11 am prior to the funeral mass. Burial will be at the St. Boniface Cemetery with Soller-Baker funeral services. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Neuropathy Association, Inc. , 60 E 42nd St, Suite 942, New York, NY 10165. You may leave memories and sign the guestbook by visiting www.soller-baker.com.
Published in the Journal & Courier from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8, 2013