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OHNESORGE, WALTER F., JR. - age 83, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, died Sunday, October 13, 2013, at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville. He was born August 12, 1930, in Corder, Missouri, the son of Walter F. Ohnesorge Sr., and Florence Mary Seuser Ohnesorge. An avid naturalist, reader, hiker, fisherman, jazz enthusiast, and ham radio operator, Walt attended radio school after high school and worked for the railroad in Missouri as a telegrapher at a rural station and in surrounding states. After serving in the army during the Korean War, he graduated from William Jewell College and then studied health physics at Vanderbilt University, before beginning a thirty-plus year career in that field at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. He married Mary E. "Pat" Maloy in 1961, and they raised their two daughters in the Karns Community outside Knoxville, until Pat's death in 1988. Walt married Margarete Ford Ohnesorge in 1991. During their 22 year marriage, they shared travels to several states and to Australia, as well as numerous excursions to area state and national parks. From their home in Oak Ridge, they enjoyed busy retirement years together; she has pursued her talents in photography, and he was active in amateur radio. Walt was re-licensed as a ham radio operator in the early 1990s. At the time of his death, his amateur radio station call letters were N4AAI. (His first call sign from the 1950s had been W0 [zero] BUH; he was able to recover the old call sign and used it for several years before obtaining N4AAI, which was easier to understand in Morse code.) An active member of the Oak Ridge Amateur Radio Club, he served for more than 20 years as editor of the club's monthly newsletter, guiding authors in preparing their articles for publication. He served for many years as a member of the club's board of directors. During his involvement in the club, Walt participated in numerous emergency preparedness exercises and in public service activities in which radio amateurs provided communications capability for the American Red Cross, the Secret City Half Marathon, and other charitable organizations and events. He especially enjoyed on-the-air conversations with amateur radio operators in hundreds of countries around the world. Walt was deeply knowledgeable of radio theory and practice. He built many electronic devices for his radio station. Generous with help and advice for newcomers, he was a long-standing member of the American Radio Relay League, the national organization for amateur radio. Also an enthusiastic hiker, curious about local flora and fauna, Walt was active as a caretaker for Oak Ridge's greenways. In addition to his parents; Walt was preceded in death by his sister, Beth. He is survived by his daughters, Karen Ohnesorge (50, of Lawrence, Kansas) and Carol Ohnesorge (47, of Parkville, Missouri); his grandchildren, Walt, Kynan, Keegan, and Allea; his great granddaughter, Zen; his wife, Margarete and her children, Susan and Kenneth Ford; and his brother, Forrest Ohnesorge (of Gladstone, Missouri). Walt loved his family quietly and deeply, as a husband, father, brother, grandfather, and great grandfather. As stated by Oak Ridge Amateur Radio Club president, Doug Campbell, all will cherish the memory of "his generous spirit, his calm optimism for the future, and his constant friendship." The family asks that memorials be made in his memory to the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, 1205-A Linden Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212 or to a . The family will receive friends, Thursday, October 17, 2013, from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Weatherford Mortuary. A memorial service will follow at 7:00 p.m. with Ivan Cordrey officiating. An on-line guest book can be signed at

Funeral Home
Weatherford Mortuary
158 S Jefferson Cir Oak Ridge, TN 37830
(865) 482-2464
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on Oct. 16, 2013
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