Walter (Wally) Henry Rietz, Jr., August 17, 1923—July 26, 2021
Last updated 8/11/2021 at Noon
Wally Rietz passed on July 26. Wally was born at the home of his parents, Walter Sr. and Margaret Rietz in Highland Park, Illinois.
Wally graduated from Highland Park High School and attended the University of Illinois in Champaign in 1941. Wally joined ROTC on campus in December. Finishing Officer Candidate School as a second lieutenant, Wally was assigned to the 11th Armored Division, 41st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron under the command of General George Patton.
On December 16, 1944, Wally landed on the French coast in Cherbourg. That same day, German forces initiated the counter-offensive known as the Battle of the Bulge.
In May, Wally arrived at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria after it was liberated the day before.
Wally’s service in Europe ended June 1946. He completed his degree at University of Illinois with a BS in business. He met his future wife, Jean Easton, and started his career in Indiana and Illinois.
In the early 1950s, Wally transferred to Southern California, living in Whittier for almost 20 years. He was transferred to Portland in 1970.
Spending vacations in Central Oregon, Wally and Jean purchased a five-acre property in the Desert Sands subdivision and spent 23 years there in retirement.
Wally was active in Sisters Rotary, hired as a starter at Aspen Lakes Golf Club, Sisters Jazz Festival, and Deschutes County Board for Children and Families.
Life became difficult to continue to stay at Desert Sands due to Jean’s failing health. In 2008, they moved to SpringRidge in Charbonneau.
Wally is survived by a daughter, Roberta Strom (Dale) of Beaverton, grandsons Brock Strom of Norfolk, VA and Kerby Strom of Portland, brother Robert Rietz of Delaware, OH, and daughter-in-law Peggy White of Timber, Oregon. He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Jean; sons James in 1950, and Scott in 1992; brother Charles in 2019.
Before Wally’s passing, he wrote memoirs of his war experience and another on his 97 years of life. The second memoir was completed days before his passing. Wally recorded a podcast on November 6, 2019, regarding his World War II experience on “Aging Today” with host Mark Turnbull
(bit.ly/WallyRietz). That episode can be downloaded.
Service to be held at Willamette National Cemetery. Procession to begin promptly at 11:15 a.m. on September 23, 2021. Reception to be determined.