May 5, 1931 - February 23, 2019
Walter Alvin Schuerenberg died at home peacefully on Saturday, February 23rd with his family by his side at the age of 87. He is so grateful and appreciative for all of the special times with family and friends, countless prayers, and encouraging notes online since he was diagnosed with lung cancer in October of 2017.
Walt was born in Kewanee, Mo on May 5th, 1931 to Charles Godfrey and Mary Belle Schuerenberg. Charles and Mary had 11 children and sadly lost 3 to childhood illnesses before Walt was born. He grew up on a farm with seven surviving sisters who loved to take care of and spoil him since he was the only boy and the next to youngest sibling. Like most children who grow up on farms, he had a lot of hard work to do when he wasn’t in school. His daily chores were to milk the cows and feed the hogs every day with his sister, Farrie. He was also responsible for the horses and “breaking them in” for a saddle. He always had a deep connection to animals and was able to be a kind of “horse whisperer” to calm the horses down in order to saddle them. He was also one of the starters on his school’s basketball team due to his great skills on the court and the fact that he was one of about only a dozen males in the small, country school. After graduating high school, Walt enlisted in the US Air Force at the onset of the Korean War. One early morning at the end of his basic training, the drill sergeant came in to the barracks and yelled out the names of two men who would be going to serve the war efforts in Alaska, while the remaining would be shipped to Korea the next morning to fight on the front lines. Walt was one of the two chosen to be stationed in multiple Alaskan Air Force bases over the next four years as a “radarman” to watch out for Russian planes entering the US air space. Most of the others in his basic training who went to Korea never came home from the war. This always weighed heavily on Walt’s heart that he had been so randomly spared in this wartime assignment. It wasn’t until late in life that he embraced the fact that he was a wartime veteran, but he always maintained that “many give ‘some’ but the real American heroes are the ones who give ‘all’ and don’t get to come home.” He never took it for granted that he was able to have a full life after the war and tried to make the most of this gift every day.
After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, he opened a small diner in North Texas where he was the cook. “Walt’s Diner” didn’t last very long in business due to a lack of good employees, but it did help Walt refine his cooking skills that would impress so many with throughout his lifetime. After a few other random jobs, Walt joined the US Postal Service for the next 33 years. While working at a Dallas Post Office that was next to a grocery store, he met his wife, Louise Swanson Schuerenberg. Walt would come to the grocery store to get his lunch every day where Louise would make sure that she opened a register for him to come through without any wait. After several months of having this no-wait experience at the grocery store, he finally realized that he was being given special treatment with the hopes of asking Louise out on a date. A year or so later they were married and remained a loving married couple for the rest of his life. “Family first” was a core tenet to Walt’s belief system and many times in his career he turned down promotions so that he could be more present with his family. Walt took great pride in being a Scoutmaster, Soccer coach, Baseball coach, Church leader, and many other of roles in his family’s life.
After retiring from the US Postal Service at age 57, he quickly realized that he wanted to continue working since he was able to do so. He became the head of the shipping and receiving department for one of the world’s largest airplane parts companies. He did this for just over ten years before “retiring” again at age 67. He wasn’t retired very long before he went back to work. He loved to joke that he married his wife “for better or for worse but not for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.” (He said this only to get a laugh, because nothing made him happier than to spend time with his wife, Louise) He became a security guard for many places including Samsung Electronics where he would work until he retired for the final time at the age of 82.
Throughout his life, Walt loved spending time with family and friends relaxing on the Texas gulf coast and enjoying nice meals that he often would cook himself. He loved to interact with people to hear their “story” and would say that “everyone has a ‘story’ and something that makes them special and unique.” The greatest joy in life, he would say, is to” look for these ‘stories’ in people’s lives that are more interesting than any book or movie.” In these interactions, he would always do what he could to brighten their days with a smile, kind word, or a joke. When asked why he did this, he would freely admit that it made him happy to make to make other’s happy, even if only for just a moment out of their day.
Walt is preceded in death by his parents, eight sisters, and one brother. He is survived by his wife, Louise Swanson Schuerenberg of Garland, TX, son Charles Schuerenberg and his wife Pennie of Heath, TX, son John Schuerenberg and his wife Beckie of Naperville, IL, eight grandchildren, (Lori Schultz of McKinney, TX, Denise Lohmiller of Heath, TX, Angela Jobe of Forney, TX, Chandler Janger of Jacksonville, FL, Brittany Dlabaj of Sunnyvale,TX, Jack Schuerenberg, of Naperville, IL, Allie Schuerenberg of Naperville, IL, and Luke Schuerenberg of Naperville, IL), 11 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, 2 remaining sisters (Iva Dill of Emelle, AL and Carol St. Mary of New Madrid, MO), six brother and sister in laws and several nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of life memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 9th at 2pm
First United Methodist Church of Plano
3160 E. Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano, TX 75074
In lieu of flowers, Walt expressed a deep desire to ask family and friends to contribute to one of two charities that were very close to him:
*Jeffrey Has Heart is a non-profit started by his best friend’s grandson to help the families of children with congenital heart defects To donate, visit www.JeffreyHasHeart.org
*The Parkinson’s Voice Project is a non-profit that has helped his wife Louise battle Parkinson’s Disease through vocal training and choral singing. To donate, visit www.parkinsonvoiceproject.org/Donate
A Signature Service under the direction of:
Aria Cremation Service & Funeral Home
10116 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, Texas 75238
To express your sympathy with a flower arrangement please contact our florist.