Age 95, of Lansing, went to be with the Lord and his wife June on February 21, 2011. Walter was born in Wexford County, Michigan on August 14, 1915 to Omer Ellsworth Woodhouse and Arloa (Bera) Woodhouse. Walter’s father died suddenly when he was 7 years old leaving his mother with three small children and very limited means, prompting love and support from family and neighbors. He attended Grandville High School and graduated from Michigan State College in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry. Upon graduation he was employed by the Kent County Road Commission in the Forestry and Engineering department.
Walter served in the United States Army. As an enlisted man, he became a staff sergeant before attending officer’s candidate school at Fort Belvoir, Virginia where he became a second lieutenant and was soon granted a four-day pass to return home to marry June Vredevoogd in November 1942. June traveled with Walter on assignment with the army map service in Washington, D.C. and other assignments in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Walter and June spent more than two years apart as he served overseas in India. In October 1943, Walter arrived in Bombay, India after approx 50 days on a troop ship from LA rounding southern Australia and Tasmania. Following WWII he left Karachi, India and arrived in New York Harbor in November 1945, reuniting with June in Grandville, Michigan two days later.
Walter returned to the Kent County Road Commission for a short time before beginning his career with Armco Steel Corporation in 1946 until his retirement in 1979. While working for Armco he was involved with many road commissions and the highway department during the construction of the interstate highway system as well as many other large projects during the 30 years following World War II.
Walter and June had 3 children and moved to Lansing in 1960. They were great MSU football and basketball fans and attended games for over 50 years. He always felt he owed a great deal to Michigan State and supported the university any way he could. Walter had played on Michigan State’s first undefeated freshman basketball team in 1936, and although he could have continued on the varsity team, he elected to hit the books instead because of a promise he made to his Aunt and Uncle, who were doing what they could to help him as he worked his way through school during the great depression.
Walter also loved the game of golf and was a lifetime member of the Country Club of Lansing, playing until he was almost 90 years old. Fishing was also a great love from his boyhood on. He went on many wonderful fishing trips with his family and friends over the years. Walter was thankful for the opportunities he received throughout his life and the good health he enjoyed. He loved life and was blessed with a positive attitude. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lansing from 1960 until his passing, and was project manager for the building of the Molly Grove Chapel. He was Past Commander of Post #530 of the American Legion, and a volunteer with Sparrow Escort Service.
It was a wonderful life. Walter now joins his parents and sisters Guylia and Dorothy, as well as his beloved June. Walter is survived by his sons, Walter O. Woodhouse II (Martha L.) of Portland, MI, Thomas B. Woodhouse (Marilyn) of Eaton Rapids, MI; daughter, Martha S. Woodhouse and grandsons John Dale Rebold and Thomas Lee Rebold of Austin, TX; many brothers and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews; and good friend, Kay Ryan of East Lansing, MI, who called every night to check up on him.
The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 25, 2011, at First Presbyterian Church, Molly Grove Chapel, 510 W. Ottawa, Lansing, with The Rev. Jeffrey S. O’Neill officiating. The family will receive friends at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, and on Friday, at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the service time. Interment will follow in Deepdale Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the June Woodhouse Fund at First Presbyterian Church, to provide medications for the needy.