Richard (Wally) Wolniewicz, 81, of Longmont, CO, died on December 21, 2020. He was born in Chicago, IL, on December 9, 1939, the sixth of seven children born to Helen Marie Kowalski and Simon Wolniewicz. Wally's humble upbringing in Chicago, including time in an orphanage, did not impede him from creating an abundant and successful life for himself and his family. Wally is survived by his loving wife, Gretel; his son, Richard (Katherine); daughter, Susie Nothnagel (Bob); and sister, Helen Hnetynka (Henry). He has 4 grandchildren: Rachel (Aaron), Jacob, Anna Sophia, and Linnea, and a great granddaughter, Eleanor. Wally served 24 years in the Air Force and graduated from the Air Force Academy with the class of 1964. He served as an air-sea rescue pilot in the HU-16 Albatross, based in Okinawa where their son Richard was born, then went to Indiana University to earn a masters degree in geography where daughter Susie was born. Wally went on to earn a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Minnesota, returning to the Academy to teach future generations of cadets. In his career with the Air Force, Wally taught geography, economics, and flying and finished his military career at the Defense Mapping Agency in St. Louis. Wally had a second 24-year career as a space systems engineer with Lockheed Martin. On retirement, he began his third and final 22-year career as a farmer, raising hay and pasturing horses, living a life that he loved. Wally enjoyed the outdoors and working the land, and had a pilot's-and-farmer's passion for following the weather forecast. Sailing was one of his great pleasures, and he left a legacy of providing sailing instruction to family friends and youth group members. Wally was a life-long fan of Air Force Academy sports teams, especially Men's Ice Hockey; until the pandemic prevented him from doing so, he regularly drove from Longmont to the Academy to watch games in-person. Wally lived a life of service: to his family, to his country, to the church, and to the community through organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America. We will remember Wally as a generous, steadfast, and loving man who was patient, ready to listen, and thoughtful in his care for others. A Funeral Rite will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Longmont, CO, on Monday, January 11, at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations in Wally's memory can be made to Christian Life Church, Attn: Ginnie Walker, 222 Plain Street, Rehoboth, MA, 02769 to support the Guatemala food program, which Wally took part in. Please visit www.ahlbergfuneralchapel.com to leave a message for the family.
Published in Longmont Times-Call on Jan. 10, 2021.