Johnnie Joseph Walter went home to be with the Lord he loved and served on Friday, April 13, 2012 at noon. He was born July 20, 1923 at home in Prairie View Township of Beadle County, South Dakota, the third child of Joseph M. and Susie (Hofer) Walter.
He graduated from Yale High School in 1941 and married Rosie Dorothy Decker on March 28, 1945 at Bethel Mennonite Church. On May 5, 1945 he was drafted into the Marines and served his country faithfully until his discharge in August of 1946. Johnnie and Rosie farmed in the Carpenter, South Dakota area until they and their two oldest children moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 1954 so he could attend Grace Bible Institute. Johnnie graduated from Grace in 1959 and the family, now including a third child, moved to Arena, North Dakota where he began serving as a pastor at the Zion Mennonite Church.
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In the fall of 1961, Johnnie was ordained as a minister of the gospel. He served two Evangelical United Brethren churches in Herreid and Artas, South Dakota from 1963 to 1967 and the Stanton Evangelical Free Church from 1967 until 1978. After he retired from ministry, he filled supportive rolls in the Evangelical Free Church in Norfolk, Nebraska and Seward, Nebraska. Johnnie and Rosie moved to Milford, Nebraska in 1985 and he sold monuments for the Watertown Monument company until his second retirement, being top salesman in the state for several years.
Johnnie was a creative man with many mechanical skills. He bought a small country house, moved it to town on a haystack mover, placed a huge walkout basement under it, and doubled its size. He combed junk yards throughout the Midwest and found parts for Model T’s and put together three cars and a C-cab pickup, all from original parts. He loved driving them in parades and chauffeuring Homecoming Kings and Queens in his beautifully restored vehicles.
When his wife, Rosie, had a stroke in 2002, he tenderly cared for her until her death in January of 2011. He is survived by his three children who love him deeply, Mrs. Julia (David) Ewert of Roseburg, Oregon, Harvey Walter of Roseburg, and Jerroll (Karen) Walter of Wayne, Nebraska. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Mrs. Jennifer (Dirk) Gieser, Michelle Walter, Ian Walter, Justin (Amber) Walter and Kristen Walter and four great-grandchildren, Jashton, Tobiah and Corban Gieser and Malia Walter, two brothers: Eli (Addie) Walter and Joseph M. (Jannette) Walter, Jr., five sisters: Maurine Friesen, June Wiebe, Joann (Albert) Epp, Lavonne Walter, and Naomi Rempe, and a ton of nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife Rosie, his parents, oldest sister, Edna Stahl and a great-grandchild, Monday Kennedy Walter.
A viewing service is scheduled Friday, April 20 from 5-7 p.m. at Taylor’s Family Mortuary (Winston), and a memorial service is scheduled at 10 a.m. on April 21, at New Hope Church (5995 Old Highway 99S, Green District). A fellowship lunch will follow the service. Memorial gifts can be sent to Nehalem Renewal Ministries (245 Nehalem Loop, Roseburg, OR 97471) to help fund a mobile Bible school ministry project.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15