Walter Owen Hulsing passed away on Sunday, December 26, 2010 at the Sabetha Community Hospital. He had enjoyed a celebrated life for 76 years and 17 days and was surrounded by family and friends during the special time that he was called home.
Walt was born as the youngest of five children to Ray and Lucy Hulsing on December 9, 1934 in Oneida, Kansas. He grew up in the Sabetha area and graduated from Sabetha High School in 1954. Walt enlisted into the Army National Guard of Kansas and served his country in the reserves from February 1, 1953 until February 16, 1956 as a SP2 cook. On February 16, 1956 Walt re-enlisted in the reserves as a SgtE5 Section Chief. He entered active duty on January 10, 1957 and was transferred to Germany. Walt became buddies with many fellow service men during his tour of duty and made special life long friendships, one in particular includes Earl Harmon of Savannah, Georgia. Walt was discharged from service on July 8, 1959 having served his country for 6 years, 4 months, and 22 days.
Upon returning home, Walt went to work as an auto mechanic at McFall Motors, pursuing his passion and love for automobiles. He was a keeper, and to this day, has acquired several special cars that meant a lot to him. Walt also loved roller skating and spent most of his spare time managing the roller skating rink at Sycamore Springs, owned by Chuck and Mary Dornes at that time. It was also at Sycamore Springs, where Walt met Retta Moore, of Falls City. Walt and Retta married on September 26, 1959 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sabetha. They made their home in Sabetha until 1992 when they separated. Even though Walt attended Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Topeka until his death, he is still a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sabetha.
On April 5, 1960, Walt and Retta were blessed with their first daughter, Susan. On May 19, 1961, they were saddened by the loss of their second daughter, Mary Anne as she passed away immediately after birth. Walt spent his entire life as a devoted, loving, and caring dad and grandpa. There were fishing trips to local ponds, family BBQ’s, and always a wonderful smile with special hugs to make any situation better. Walt’s pride and joy was his family, and he was the world to all who knew him as Walt never knew a stranger. Walt touched many lives and has left those who knew him and loved him with many special memories.
Walt’s life was a full one. After 22 years at McFall Motors, Walt took a position as Street Superintendent for the City of Sabetha. He still managed to work on automobiles from time to time for many who would ask. After leaving the City in 1992 he drove a truck for his long time friend Pete Keim for a few years until his health was such that he could no longer make the long trips. After 33 years of marriage, Walt and Retta divorced in November of 1992. Walt then moved to Topeka and purchased a home where he resided until his accident on December 3
when he was taken to St. Francis Hospital and later transferred to Sabetha. During his years in Topeka, Walt made many new friends and had his special “Topeka” family close by which helped complete his life.
Walt has had to say goodbye to many special family and friends, most recently to his brother Jim Hulsing of Henderson, Colorado in January and his niece, Diana Mitchell of Sabetha, Kansas in October. Also preceding him in death include: Parents, Ray and Lucy (Volz) Hulsing; Sisters, Eleanor Baumgartner and Mary Lou Schmitt; Brothers-in-law, Floyd Baumgartner and Norman Schmitt; Niece, Melissa (Hulsing) Riggs of Brighton, Colorado; and an infant daughter, Mary Anne Hulsing.
Those left to remember Walt and the wonderful memories include: Daughter, Susan Phillips and special friend Bill Nordloh; Granddaughter, Mandy (Nemechek) Bowen and husband Quent and Great-Grandchildren Lilli Bowen and Bradyn Bowen; Grandson Trent Phillips and his special friend Tiffany Bowles; and Granddaughter, Katie Phillips all of Humboldt, Nebraska. A sister, Maxine (Hulsing) Wiltz and her husband Vince of St. Mary’s, Kansas and a sister-in-law, Georgia Hulsing of Pueblo, Colorado. Walt is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews, cousins, special friends, and his “Topeka family” which includes: Tessa Douglas, Jeni Douglas and Remi of Lawrence; Jodi Doulas and special friend Joel, and Jali, Tre, and Jase of Topeka; as well as special friends Justin, Kelly, and Dahlia.
A rosary will be recited on Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at the Popkess Mortuary in Sabetha. Family visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 31, 2010 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and a military burial will be in the Sabetha Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to the Walt Hulsing Memorial Fund with the hope of establishing scholarships for Automotive Repair and Health Services offered to students graduating from the Sabetha High School and HTRS School in Humboldt, Nebraska.