Walter Rudolph Rehwaldt, 79, died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Walter was born June 17, 1938, in York, Neb., to Henry and Helga (Meyer) Rehwaldt, the oldest son of their six children. At that time, his father, a Lutheran pastor, was serving a congregation in Hampton, Neb., and his mother was the organist. Walter spend his childhood in Hampton; Booneville, Mo.; and East St. Louis before the family moved to St. Louis in 1956.
He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in education and taught for six years for the St. Louis public school system. In 1967, he received his master of science in sducation from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, with President Delyte Morris presenting his degree at the school's first commencement.
On June 30, 1962, Walter married Susan Eleanor Schneider at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Louis. Their marriage was blessed with three children, Peter, Gretchen and Eric.
After teaching in the elementary school system in St. Louis and working in the area of finance for the St. Louis Community College, the family relocated to Carbondale in 1968. Walter held a number of administrative and financial positions over the next 25 years at Southern Illinois University. He retired in 2000.
Music, especially choral singing, was always important to Walter. He sang in his mother's church choirs beginning at age 8. Walter joined SIU's Choral Union in 1968 and sang bass for the next 49 years.
Walter devoted much of his leisure time to the Lutheran church. He held a variety of elected positions at the Lutheran Church of All Saints and Epiphany Lutheran Church, including being designated "head chef" for pancake breakfasts. He was a proud member of the construction crew that built the sanctuary for All Saints. Walter also served on the council of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, chairing its constitution committee for many years.
Walter is survived by Susan, his wife of 56 years, and their children and spouses, Peter (Linda Flebbe-Rehwaldt) of Lee's Summit, Mo.; Gretchen Pletan (Ray) of Whitesboro, Texas; and Eric (Heidi) of Tewksbury, Mass. He leaves 10 grandchildren, Joshua Rehwaldt, Zachary Pletan, Christa Pletan Barnet (Corban), Dustin Pletan, Cecelia Pletan, Julia Pletan, Gabriel Pletan, Ezekiel Pletan, Jeremiah Pletan and Jacob Pletan; and three great-grandchildren, Bennett, Oliver and Donovan Barnet. Grandchild number 11 is due to arrive in July in Tewksbury, Mass.
He is likewise survived by all five of his siblings, Hildegarde Rehwaldt Schmidt, Esther Rehwaldt Pfabe, Ruth Rehwaldt, Carl Rehwaldt and Donald Rehwaldt.
Pastor Paul Waterman will preside at Walter's funeral service at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11 at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 1501 W. Chautauqua St. in Carbondale. Visitation will be from 5 to 7pm Saturday, March 10 and 1 to 1:45 p.m. Sunday at the church.
In keeping with Walter's passions for his church, memorial contributions may be made to the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, or Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), on whose Cornerstone Board Walter served for many years. Detailed information and envelopes will be available at Epiphany Lutheran Church.
Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale is in charge of arrangements.
To share a special story or memory of Walter, visit meredithfh.com.