John E. Walling, 86, "crossed the bar," going home to his Lord and to his wife Blanche April 28, 2013. He passed peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.
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John was born April 15, 1927, in Portland, Ore. He attended Commerce High School before exaggerating his age and joining the Merchant Marines at 15, eventually working in the engine room aboard Liberty Ships. While on leave in Portland in August 1944, he married his wife Blanche just three weeks after meeting her at Jantzen Beach Amusement Park - a merry-go-round ride that lasted 65 years and three months.
After completing his service with the Merchant Marines, John enlisted in the Army and served as a mechanic, moving with his wife and children to various bases in the Western and Southwestern states.
After leaving the Army, he and his family relocated back to Oregon, living briefly in Bend before moving to Amboy, Wash. There, John supported his wife and children working as a millwright - along with raising horses and cattle. John and Blanche moved in 1970 to Merrill, where he worked as a millwright for Weyerhaeuser Co. John and Blanche spent 13 years raising their beloved mini-mutts until 2009 when Blanche passed on.
He loved the sea and accumulated an immense collection of nautical history. He spent his life immersing himself in history and any venue of knowledge. His love of learning and storytelling was unsurpassed, regularly sharing "lessons" with family and acquaintances alike.
John dedicated his life to his family, didn't know a stranger, and ALWAYS put others before himself. His gauge of success was not by the money in your wallet, but by the love in one's heart. "Live, learn, and don't look back" was his motto.
He was preceded in death by his mother, his father, and his wife Blanche.
He is survived by his children George and Carol Walling, Rosemary and Bill Oatfield, Melody Michaelson and Frank and Chris Walling; his grandchildren Bonnie and Geoffrey Overcash, Tuesday and Keith Herring, Bobbie Sue and Trent Britton, John and Alicia Walling, Crystal and Dennis Ashe, Darlene Oatfield, Charlene and Cirilo Lopez, Stacy Michaelson, Keith and Elizabeth Walling, Kelly and Tom Wilcox, Wesley and Tami Walling, and Travis and Katie Walling; 20 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
We wish him fair winds and following seas ... until we meet again.
Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m. Monday in Davenport's Chapel with interment to follow at the Eagle Point National Cemetery near White City at
2 p.m. Dad always said the clothes did not make the man, so please feel free to come as you are.
In lieu of flowers, John requested that donations be made to the SS Jeremiah O'Brien National Liberty Ship Memorial (ssjeremiahobrien.org/donate.php).
Published in Herald And News on May 2, 2013