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Wallace Ralph "Wally" Green (1924 - 2013)

Obituary
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Wallace "Wally" Green

May 2, 1924

July 2, 2013

Wally Green, passed away unexpectedly on July 2, 2013 in Reno, NV at the age of 89. He was born in Waseca, Minnesota, and at the age of two his parents Ralph and Mary "Alice" (Phelps) moved west to the oil fields of Taft, CA, where he met and wed his high school sweetheart of 66 years, Thelma "Sam" (Beck). Eventually, the Greens left Taft with their three young children to raise their family in Santa Cruz. As empty nesters, they moved on to the San Francisco area and eventually fulfilled their dreams of living in Lake Tahoe & Reno where they spent the last 20 years. ("The closest place to heaven," he would say.)

He was a proud American. His eyes welled up every time he heard the National Anthem being played. As WWII was looming, 18 year old Wally learned the Morris Code before enlisting in the Army Air Corps. He always claimed that this was the only way to "avoid getting mud on my boots." As proficient as he was, the Corps thought he was a genius and immediately made him an aviation radio operator. His favorite marching song, "3 dits, 4 dits, 5 dits, daaaa" is a family classic. In training, he signed off on his own flight certificate without the knowledge of his officer, assigning himself to B-24 heavy bombers. In March of 1944, his crew ferried over the aircraft MisChief and was assigned to the 449thBomb Group, based in Grottaglie, Italy. Wally was a true hero, having survived a serious crash on his first mission that occurred upon takeoff, killing two crewmembers and hospitalizing the rest of the crew. A second incident occurred while returning from the heavily fortified oils fields in Ploesti Romania; his badly damaged aircraft crash-landed on the small Isle of Vis off the Yugoslavian coast. The crew was rescued and treated by the Partisan resistance and days later were evacuated by US Rangers to Bari, Italy. By August 1944, he had completed the required 50 combat missions allowing him to return stateside. Years later, he reunited and became actively involved with the 449th BG Association, attending reunions around the county.

He was a salesman at heart, believing in a hearty handshake (even though a machine-saw accident left him with three shorter fingers on his right hand!) He traveled the vast roadways of the northwestern states promoting his products and providing a good life for his family. Traveling was also part of the family vacations, be it trips to Yosemite, water skiing many lakes throughout the state, houseboat trips up the Delta, caravanning across the United States, camping along the coastline, or jetting abroad.

In retirement, long before his kids even knew what a computer was, he had one. The hours he spent sitting in front of his monitor drove his wife crazy. Wally was passionate about the stock market and put his skills to good use. He was charting and trading until the day he died. He played the game well, always one step ahead with investing.

Those who knew Wally best knew he was an active member and promoter of the Turtle Club. He took great pride in inducting family and friends into this secret fraternity. Often, in the midst of a conversation, to test aptitude and worthiness he would pose this playful question: "Are you a turtle?" A hearty belly-laugh would always ensue.

He leaves a legacy of unconditional love for his family, support, guidance, quiet wit, financial advice, a secret recipe for BBQ chicken, and his personal spin on resolving the world's current economic crises.

Wally is survived by his devoted daughters Mary Crowley of Huntington Beach, CA and Peggy Hill of West Harrison, NY, and son Joe Green of Reno, NV. He enjoyed his ten grandchildren: Meghan (Tad Garner), Shauna, Breanne (Tommy Zaby & great grandchildren Kieran & Keelan), Keegan, Seamus, and Darby Crowley; Mark (Jessica & great grandchild Sydney) and Mathew Hill; Alex and Laura Green. He is also survived by his younger sister, Lucille Boswell of Cassadaga, FL. He is preceded in death by his wife Thelma, younger brother, Elwood Green, and son-in-law Toby Crowley.

A Memorial service will be held Sept 7th at the vista point on Mt Rose Highway overlooking his beloved Lake Tahoe. All are welcome!! Please contact the family for details.

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Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on July 14, 2013
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