Captain Walter H. Reese USN (ret.) (1925 - 2019)

  • "Yesterday I went and said goodbye to one of greatest men I..."
    - Jim Glenn
  • "Walt and Mary were tremendous neighbors to my parents. ..."
  • "My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family. Walt..."
    - Toni Rodriguez
  • "Sympathy and condolences to Captain Walter Reese, an..."
    - legionnaires American Legion
  • "Our condolences to Steve and the entire Reese family. Your..."
    - Barb and Rob Reilly
Service Information
NC
5641 Highway 90 West
Milton, FL
32583
(850)-623-2205
Visitation
Saturday, Sep. 21, 2019
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
National Cremation and Burial Society
5641 US-90
Milton, FL
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Memorial service
Sunday, Sep. 22, 2019
2:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church
205 Elmira Street
Milton, FL
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Obituary

CAPT Walter H Reese, USN (Ret), passed away peacefully on the 12th of September, four days after his 94th birthday.

Walt was born in September 1925 in Buchanan, Michigan to Walter A and Alvina Geminder Reese. He met his future wife, Mary Margaret McNeal, in 1942 when they were seniors at Buchanan High School. Shortly after Walt got his wings, he and Mary were married on 23 June 1946 in Buchanan at a ceremony performed by Mary's father. They were married for almost 72 years when she passed away in April 2018 and Walt missed her every day since then.

Walt and Mary had three boys, Steve, Chuck and Bob. Walt shared with his boys and larger family his love of God, love of the outdoors, and his commitment to caring for every community that we were ever part of (We moved a lot)! His boys were brought up learning and absorbing these same values: Church, more than Church but also Church activities; School and education - learning; there was no questioning the importance Dad placed on these things. It happened in Boy Scouts, hunting and fishing, exploring every outdoor opportunity, "let's go try this…, and, "I think we can build this!" Almost every place Dad and Mom found for us to live due to our Navy "moves" was on the water - and not "downtown." Dad took us on a bazillion family trips and activities. As a dad, grandfather, great grandfather, and uncle he was the best advocate his family could ever have.

Walt and Mary traveled widely, and often. Their children and their family were their priorities. Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, it did not matter where they were or what time of year - that is where you would find them. He and Mary came to every significant family event for all of us: births, graduations, Eagle Scout ceremonies, weddings, you name it. Of course, as often as not, family would flock to their home in Milton, Florida. Travels took them to Navy League meetings and Hurricane Hunter reunions in all corners of the United States. Travels with church delegations, to see friends, and for the sheer joy of it, took them to many countries and continents.

Walt was a 30 year career Naval Aviator with 12,600 hours of flight time, followed by 11 years of teaching as the Senior Naval Science instructor at the Milton High School NJROTC unit. After retirement he was active in the Navy League, holding offices at local and national levels, advocating on behalf of the maritime services to members of government at all levels- local, regional and national. He was a Naval Academy Blue and Gold Affiliate for this area. He found great joy in mentoring the young men and women of the NJROTC unit and active duty service members, strongly encouraging them to believe in themselves.

He was an active elder, teacher, choir member, youth advisor and much more in the Presbyterian Church for many years, with service in the local area and regionally as well as trips to connect with Presbyterian churches overseas, including South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, and China.

He gave countless hours of volunteer efforts to the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce (twice honored as their "Man of the Year"), The Boy Scouts of America, Sunrise Kiwanis of Santa Rosa (Aktion Club, Terrific Kids, Relay for Life), The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Santa Rosa Clean Community and Santa Rosa Rivers Cleanup, Blackwater River Foundation, and apologies to all those not listed!

His faith and practice spanned his life. He recognized the accomplishments of others wherever he served, and partnered with others to make a positive difference in the world. He was an educator and life builder wherever he saw the chance. He was a generous and determined man of faith, family man, mentor, advocate, friend, servant leader - a "life force," and "fishing buddy." Even through the challenges brought on by his failing health he remained fiercely positive and always had a smile for any visitor. He brought a can do attitude to everything he ever did.

Walt is survived by his sister, Joyce Stombaugh, his sons, Steve (Diana) Reese, Chuck (Marcy) Reese, and Bob (Beth) Reese, grandchildren Joni Johnson, Randy Reese, Susannah Reese, Tyler Reese, Nathaniel Reese, Samuel Reese, and Anna Graves, and great grandchildren Lathum Johnson, Camden Johnson, Frank Chessin, Ira Chessin, Cayden Reese, and Caspian Reese. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him and most especially by his family. His words are the best conclusion, "Our prayer at home is Love. And that is enough."

A visitation will be held Saturday, September 21, from 2 to 4 PM, at the National Cremation and Burial Society, 5641 US-90, Milton, FL 32583. A memorial service will be held Sunday, September 22, at the First Presbyterian Church, 205 Elmira Street, Milton, FL 32570. The service will begin at 2:00 PM and a reception will follow.

The family would like to express their deep appreciation to the staff of Home Instead and Emerald Coast Hospice for their wonderful support in helping care for Walt. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in Walt's memory to the New Beginnings Preschool Center (PO Box 3813, Milton, FL 32572), Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (Hurricane Recovery, etc., https://pda.pcusa.org), or Keep Santa Rosa Beautiful, Inc (Clean Community, River Clean up, etc., http://www.srclean.org/).
Published in Santa Rosa Press Gazette from Sept. 19 to Oct. 19, 2019
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