Walter Harold "Wally" Ask, 94, of St. Charles died Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester.
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Wally was born June 2, 1919, on his family's farm in Campbell Valley of Houston County, the sixth of 13 children to Norwegian immigrants Haakan Karlsen Ask and Karen (Hansen) Ask. His early childhood was spent helping on the family farm and working on area farms, beginning at age 14. He graduated from Houston High School in 1939. In 1941, Wally entered the U.S. Navy and arrived at Pearl Harbor one week after the Dec. 7 bombing. He served in Hawaii and later was an instructor at the U.S. Naval Technical Training Center in Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis, Mo., and also in Chicago teaching aircraft maintenance. Wally was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1947 as an aviation chief machinist mate. He and Betty Jane Anderson were married on March 6, 1948. He then began his painting career in Houston, before moving to St. Charles, where he started Ask Paint and Glass, which later became Ask Paint and Carpet. He was in the painting business for 30 years before focusing on the carpet business for the next 20 years.
In retirement, he became a clown, first with the Shriner's Merry Medics of Rochester and also with the River City Rascals from Winona. Wally performed 50 clown appearances a year in makeup and pulled thousands of Tootsie Rolls from kid's ears over the years. He was also known for his many balloon animals that he made and wearing his fanny pack containing balloons and Tootsie Rolls when he was in public.
Wally was a charter member of Faith Lutheran Church in St. Charles and served for many years on the Winona County Fair Board and the St. Charles School Board. He belonged to the St. Charles Senior Citizens and volunteered at the St. Charles Resource Center. Wally was a life member of the St. Charles Veterans of Foreign Wars and their firing squad, American Legion Post, 40 and 8, a charter member of National World War II Memorial and the International Order of Odd Fellows #24. He also belonged to the following Masonic organizations; Rising Sun Lodge #49, Order of the Easter Star Sunshine Chapter #98, Tyron Council #4, Scottish Rite, Osman Temple, Knights Templar, Shriners International, International Clown Organization, Rochester Area Shrine Club and Merry Medics of Rochester. He received several special awards, including the Masonic Hiram Award, Blue Cross Blue Shield Ageless Heroes' Bridging the Generations, Winona County Senior Citizen of the Year and many clown awards.
Survivors include his wife Betty, four children, Virginia (Merlin) Mielke of Plainview, Wally Jr. (Corinne) of Orange, Conn., Timothy (Jayne) of St. Charles and Kimberly Ask-Carlson of Alexandria, La.; 11 grandchildren, Tyler (Autumn) Mielke, Taryn Mielke-Torres, Tanner Mielke, Erik (Nicole Arms) Ask, Ryan (Kristi) Ask, Kevin Ask, Rachel (Mike) Nachreiner, Chris (Maggie) Ask, Kendra (Luis Martin) Ask-Carlson, Kieran Carlson and Keenan Carlson; nine great-grandchildren, Sebastian and Savannah Mielke, Alexis Chavarria, Lincoln Ask, Michael and Brekken Nachreiner, Adalyn Ask, Haakon and Innes Martin. He is further survived by two brothers, Roy of Houston and Lyle of Rochester and four sisters, Velma Degallier of Winona, Esther Feine of Cortez, Colo., Carol Kilstofte of Pueblo, Colo., and Anita (Craig) Currier of Pittsburg, Kan.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Carl and five sisters, Hardy, Alma, Florence, Evelyn and Hazel.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at Faith Lutheran Church in St. Charles, with the Rev. Steven McGinley officiating.
Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Hoff Funeral and Cremation Service in St. Charles. They may also call from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday at the church.
A Masonic Service will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
Wally donated his body to the Mayo Clinic Department of Anatomy.
Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery at a later date. Military honors will be conducted by the St. Charles VFW and American Legion Posts.
Please share a memory of Wally at his online guestbook and view his tribute video when it becomes available at hofffuneral.com.
Memorials are preferred to the Shriners Children's Hospital, Smile Train, Make a Wish of Minnesota or the
Published in The Post-Bulletin on Nov. 13, 2013