Wallace J. Wellenstein, 90
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August 11, 1921 ~ May 10, 2012
Long time Alaskan resident Wallace J. Wellenstein, 90, died peacefully May 10, 2012 at Marlow Manor. At Wally's request a celebration of life will be held at his residence of 2225 Tulik Drive on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
Wally was born in Albany, Minnesota to Eulalia "Lila" and John Wellenstein on August 11, 1921 and baptized on August 13, 1921.
Mr. Wellenstein briefly attended St. John's University in Minnesota (1940-1942) before enlisting with the U.S. Army. He was stationed with the U.S. Army Transportation Office in Juneau, Alaska from 1942 - 1945, where he obtained the rank of Sargent before being honorably discharged. It was during his time in Juneau that he first fell in love with Alaska. So, after earning his BA in Architecture in 1948 from the University of Minnesota he promptly returned to Alaska for good in 1949.
His love of hunting also played a role in seducing him back to Alaska where he enjoyed many years of adventures with his family and friends; from Alaska to Argentina. One memorable trip was in 1952, when he and his brother-in-law, Cliff Fuglestad, bagged a polar bear 100 miles off the Arctic coast in Point Hope that was rated second in the 1953 Boone and Crockett Club North American Big Game competition.
Alaska opened up many opportunities and new adventures for Wally, one of which included downhill skiing. His dedication to public service led him to join the National Ski Patrol, culminating in a national appointment in 1953. Wally was involved in the creation of the Denali Ski Patrol; the first volunteer ski patrol in the Anchorage area. He also formed the McKinley Ski School as a free service to the community under the sponsorship of the Mt. McKinley Lions Club in the early 50's. As the Anchorage Ski Club grew in membership, Wally's involvement with the Club led him to design the first Arctic Valley Ski Lodge.
His most loved adventure though was architecture: he opened Wellenstein Architectural Consultants in 1962 (licensed to practice architecture in Alaska and Minnesota). He was a prominent architect in Anchorage for many years designing buildings throughout the state.
In 1971, Wally was the recipient of the National Register of Prominent Americans honorary award certificate and inclusion in the register for 1972-73. In 1975, Wally was appointed by former Governor Jay Hammond to the Alaska Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors; where he served through 1983. He was past president of the Alaska Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Greater Anchorage Inc., Mt. McKinley Lions Club, and the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous. He also served on many Anchorage City and Borough building code and planning commissions, which included service on the Urban Design Commission from 1992 through 1994. Wally was also a lifetime member of the Alpha Rho Chi Alumni Professional Architectural Fraternity, Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and the Anchorage Lions Club.
In 1983, Wally retired from architecture but not from business; he went on to open Northern Flight Gallery where he could enjoy the ducks and geese flying on the walls of his gallery.
Wally is survived by his sisters Joan Fuglestad of Anchorage, Alaska, and Grace Weidner of St. Cloud, Minnesota, along with many nieces and nephews throughout the United States.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Lila and John, and his brother Melvin.
Wally's ashes will be interned at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery Columbarium Wall and along the Kenai River near his cabin and the salmon hole that was aptly named after him, "Wally's Hole." In lieu of flowers please donate in his memory to
The family warmly thanks Marlow Manor and its staff for the loving care they bestowed on Uncle Wally.
Published in the St. Cloud Times on May 20, 2012