Wilbur Walther


Wilbur Walther

Memorial Information

Death Notice

On Saturday, August 3, 2013 in Fairfax, VA. Born in Jefferson City, Missouri, he was a veteran of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific campaign in WWII. He spent most of his career as an engineer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, working for the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), and lived in Vienna, VA for 42 years. He was pre-deceased by his wife of 51 years, Agnes M. Walther, and his granddaughter Lauren E. Tsai. He is survived by eight children: Paula Tsai, Deborah Rohloff, John Walther, Ronald Walther, Linda Cashion, Thomas Walther, Mark Walther and Mary McCune. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren. Visitation will be held on August 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Money & King Vienna Funeral Home, 171 W Maple Ave.,Vienna, VA. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on August 9 at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 8601 Wolftrap Rd., Vienna, VA. Interment will follow at Fairfax Memorial Park. If desired, donations may be made to: OLGC-Ushers, 8601 Wolftrap Rd., Vienna, VA.22182. Messages of sympathy can be shared with the family at www.moneyandking.com. Published in The Washington Post on August 7, 2013.


Wilbur Henry Walther, 87, died on August 3 in Fairfax, Virginia. Wilbur was born on January 21, 1926, in Jefferson City, Missouri. He grew up in Jefferson City, the third of four children of Wilbur Richard Walther and Christine Marie Walther (Bruegging).

Wilbur worked from the time he was 12 years old. His first job was as a newspaper delivery boy. In high school, he worked on an ice truck, delivering ice to households. After graduating from St. Peter High School in 1943 at the age of 17, Wilbur enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

He served in World War II aboard the USS Carina, a Pacific supply ship, and attained the rating of Petty Officer, First Class. While in the combat waters off Okinawa in 1944, the Carina was successfully rammed by a Japanese suicide boat. Wilbur, who was working on the bridge at the time, was later commended for collecting the ship’s vital records before boarding his lifeboat (on the order to abandon ship).

After the war, Wilbur studied Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and took a job as an engineer with the State of Missouri Public Service Commission. He married Agnes Marie Rackers of Jefferson City in 1949.

When Wilbur took a job in Washington, D.C., in 1956, he and Agnes moved to northern Virginia with four children. Wilbur worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). REA assisted rural electric and telephone companies in providing electric and phone service to rural areas that were not being served by established utilities. Wilbur retired from the federal government after 30 years of service.

While living in Virginia, Wilbur and Agnes had four more children and eventually settled in Vienna, where Wilbur lived for 42 years.

Wilbur was very active in his church. He was a communicant of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish (OLGC) since its founding, and a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, Santa Maria Council, serving as Grand Knight in the 1970’s. He served in the Usher Ministry at OLGC Parish for over 42 years.

Wilbur was active in the community, as well. He was a member of American Legion Post 180 for over 50 years. In his retirement, he spent many enjoyable seasons playing softball with the Northern Virginia Senior Softball league.

Wilbur thrived among people, and he loved to have a good time. He loved young children and telling corny jokes. He was a perennial optimist. He enjoyed gardening, growing flowers and tomatoes or just strolling among his flowers and shrubs in the evening.

He especially loved music. He played the violin as a child, and he enjoyed many kinds of music as an adult - from classical to country. He put his engineering skills in service to his love of music when he built a stereo receiver and turntable. He was known for playing popular tunes on his harmonica - he could play almost anything by ear.

For the past five years, Wilbur has lived at The Virginian Retirement Community in Fairfax, where he enjoyed the social atmosphere and made many new friends. He received exemplary care at The Virginian and was very fond of all the attentive caregivers, for which his family is very grateful. The family would also like to thank Hospice for the special care they provided as well.

Wilbur and Agnes were married for 51 years. Wilbur was pre-deceased by his wife, Agnes, his brothers, Donald and Jerome (Jerry), his sister, Elizabeth Frye (Betty Ann), and his granddaughter, Lauren Tsai.

He is survived by eight children(spouses): Paula Tsai (Van), Deborah Rohloff (Richard), John Walther (Sandy), Ronald Walther (Toni), Linda Cashion (Robert), Thomas Walther (Julie), Mark Walther, and Mary McCune (Timothy).

He is also survived by eleven grandchildren: Michael Tsai, Geoffrey Tsai, Katherine Rohloff, Danielle Walther, Jennifer Walther, Daniel Walther, Brandon Cashion, Heather Walther, Lillian Walther, Spencer McCune and Connor McCune.

Visitation will be held on August 8th, 2 pm to 4 pm and 6 pm – 8 pm at Money & King Vienna Funeral Home, 171 West Maple Avenue, Vienna, VA. The funeral Mass will be held August 9th at 1 pm at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 8601 Wolftrap Rd., Vienna, VA. Interment will be at Fairfax Memorial Park. If desired, donations may be made to: OLGC-Ushers, 8601 Wolftrap Rd., Vienna, VA 22182, and Catholic Charities: Diocese of Arlington, 6201 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044.

Homily by Father Metzger

Before I begin my brief reflection, I would like to offer the prayers and support of our parish community to Wilbur’s children: Paula, Deborah, John, Ronald, Linda, Thomas, Mark and Mary and to their families.

Wilbur passed away at the age of 87. He was born in Missouri, worked hard throughout his childhood and entered the Navy at the age of 17. After the war he continued his education. He met Agnes his future wife and they celebrated 51 years of marriage together. Shortly after this Agnes passed away and he lived his last ten years or so without her. All his life he worked very hard and worked here at the church as an usher for 42 years plus. My first weekend here at the parish, I thought I would save the ushers time and brought the collection to the office. Wilbur followed me, making sure I was the new priest at the parish and that I was not a thief dressed as a priest who intended to steal the collection.

The family picked the readings for today’s Mass. The Gospel mentions Jesus saying that he will not reject anyone who comes to him. I think this sentence helps us understand Wilbur. He too never rejected anyone who came to him. In fact, the more people he was surrounded with, the better he liked it. He was an extravert who loved people – the more, the merrier. He loved music. He was a self taught musician. At gatherings he would entertain by playing his harmonica. He was a very positive person and even his last few weeks although suffering he never mentioned how poorly he felt.

Wilbur lived his faith. He attended Mass on weekends; he reinforced the moral code and teachings of the church by his very life. He challenged his children to keep the same high standards, He saw life as a serous of opportunities given to us by God and because they were his gifts, one was supposed to take advantage of the many opportunities that God gave them. He was very proud that all of his children attended college. He taught them to be financially responsible.

He was a community person. He was a member of the American Legion and a charter member of this parish since its founding. He was also a charter member of the Knights of Columbus, serving as grand knight in the 70’s. He was also very athletic and enjoyed participating in the Northern Virginia Senior League.

Wilbur lived his life, filled with faith and trust in his loving God. The words of the second reading will ring true for him as he enters eternity. “Those who trust in him shall understand truth and the faithful shall abide with him in love.” We believe that Wilbur will live with his God and be reunited with his wife Agnes for all eternity.

Wilbur’s legacy to his family is his outgoing and welcoming personality, his hard work ethic, his strong moral code and his willingness to live by the standards set by the Catholic Church, his love of family, and his dedication to making good use of all the opportunities that God has sent his way. May the Spirit of your father, grandfather and friend always live in your hearts.