Walter Ernest Kalchbrenner (Wally), age 70, of Clancy, passed away at St. Peter's Hospital on November 20, 2009, after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Wally was born to Walter & Florence (Scott) Kalchbrenner in Chicago on March 6, 1939, the third of five children. Raised in Chicago, he graduated from high school in 1956 and later served in the US Army from 1962-1964. He was stationed in Korea during that time. He married Jeann Wojcik from Chicago and they later divorced. During a hunting trip to Montana in 1973, he met "his Lady", the former Ginny Price of Clancy and they married on February 16, 1974.
Wally worked in the sheet metal industry for over 50 years. He moved to Montana in 1977 and was employed by McLees, Inc., until he and Ginny started Merit Mechanical Services, Inc. in 1985. He remained active in the business until a few months ago. Wally was an active member of the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) having served twice as president of the Montana chapter. He also served on various committees as well as on two national committees. Until this year, he attended every national convention since joining the association 22 years ago. Wally remained very devoted to the sheet metal industry up until the time of his death.
Wally was a past president of the Clancy Volunteer Fire Department and the Montana Roofers Association. At the time of his death, he was serving his third term as president of the Helena Valley Timing Association of which he was one of the founding members. Wally has always had a passion for old cars and Lionel trains. He also enjoyed collecting memorabilia from the 50's & 60's. He loved the holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas and spent hours decorating his yard & home for those occasions. He also loved having special Halloween parties and a Christmas stroll, just for the kids.
He especially loved the time he spent playing cards, coloring and eating ice cream with his "little lady" Jaden. Wally received much joy in helping the kids his daughter, Kirsten, brought home throughout the years. He & Ginny were foster parents for several years.
His parents, two sisters, two nieces and a nephew preceded Wally in death. He is survived by his wife Ginny, his children Russ(Laura), Heather (Dave), Kirsten, Candice (Justin) and his grandchildren Rachel, Jaden, Lauren, Rylan and Savannah. Many special nieces and nephews also survive him.
The family would like to thank Dr. Weiner and the staff of the Cancer Center for the wonderful care Wally received. Special thanks to Joan from "Rudy" – you made everything so much easier for us. We would also like to thank the wonderful nurses from St. Peter's Oncology unit who took care of Wally the last couple of weeks. Thanks, Nichole, for showing Wally your "super secret" handshake, and a special thank you to Catie for helping us celebrate Wally's life.
Wally had many friends and we are thankful for all your support. Bob Pierson, Vern Evans and Mike Erb were more than friends during this difficult time. Not only did they finish Wally's car project along with help from other members of the Helena Valley Timing Association, but also they were always there for us. Bob & Vern spent many hours being Wally's chauffer, nurse's aid, therapist and walking companion. We can't even guess how many miles you walked with Wally in the halls of the hospital. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel for all you have done.
Wally's family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday, November 27, 2009 at Retz Funeral Home. A Funeral is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 28, 2009 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church with burial to follow the service at Forestvale Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of Retz Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in honor of Wally to:
Howard Daley JATC Training Facility
4 Technology Way, Butte, MT 59701
Montana SMACNA Scholarship Fund
205 Vista Court
Butte, MT 59701