Happy Fathers Day, Pops!
Walter Leslie Flue, Junior
Good afternoon and thank you all for coming today. Walter Flue, Dad, Pops, Grandpa no matter what he was called my dad was a rock for all of us. It is painful to all of us to realize that he has gone. But, it is a celebration for all of us because Dad and Mom are now together “For all Eternity” as his heart so desired. Please accept my sincerest expression of appreciation and thank you to all of you for your support, love, caring, and all you have done for Dad and all of the rest of us kids.
As we were staying at the house this week, I came across a journal that Dad prepared; a journal of his life. I also found his baby book from when he was born. I think that the best way to remember Dad is to use his own words.
This is -
Dad – the early years
I was born November 16, 1929. I was born in an apartment at 308 ½ West Meeker Street, in Kent, Washington; called the Page Hotel. A short time later we moved to 533 3rd Avenue South and I grew up there until I got married. I still own the house there as I obtained it by inheritance.
While I lived there I attended all the schools in Kent; namely 2 grade schools, 1 junior high school, and 1 high school. The year I first started elementary school was the first year that kindergarten was started. I remember that when I was walking to 1st grade my friend, Bob Bliss, would wave to me at kindergarten class in 1st Baptist church on the corner of Willis Street and 4th Avenue.
Two of my teachers at Kent Elementary were Jessie Boucher and Tom Baily. I did spend two years in the 3rd grade. Next, I went to Kent Junior High at the corner of Titus and Kensington where Farrington Court is today
While I was in grade school and junior high I was playing the violin. I used to travel by bus to Seattle every Saturday to take violin lessons. Then, while in the 8th grade, I switched to playing trumpet. During this same time frame I was delivering the morning P.I. paper to residents in the downtown area. One sunny morning I was riding my bike east on Meeker Street to pick up my papers; I was watching my reflection in the plate glass windows of some of the businesses and ran right into a parked car. Lucky I was not injured.
While in High School I continued playing the trumpet in dance band as well as the marching band. Also, when Drivers Education was first started in Kent, Dave Smith and I were the only two students that had driver’s licenses. So, we used our cars for the other students to learn how to drive in part of our P.E. class schedule.
After high school graduation, Rolf Luduickson and I joined the U.S. Navy and went to San Diego for boot camp training. After completion of boot training we were assigned to different vessels and we didn’t see each other for almost one year; which was just after our discharge.
After discharge (September 8, 1949) I returned home in Kent, Washington and returned to Kent High School for post graduate studies. There, I met Jean Evans and after about four months we became engaged and was married on July 1, 1950 in the Methodist Church located at Central and Meeker Street here in Kent, King County, Washington.
I worked at Boeing for 5 years and with the threat of layoff, I left Boeing and went to work in Kent at Heath Aircraft; later changed to Heath Tecna, and worked there for almost 10 years in their tooling and trim department.
In 1970 I left Heath Tecna and went to Los Alamitos, CA to work here for “VanBar”. This only lasted 2 years. They laid me off and I sent in an application to work at Boeing Company. I was hired and had to report to Boeing the first part of November 1971. Lee Purdy was helpful to get me back here to the Northwest.
I came back to work at Boeing in the tooling department in Auburn, with the intent of not changing jobs and retiring from Boeing when the time would be right. The last two years at Boeing I was working on the 777 Aircraft program finishing out my tooling experience on all the 7XX series aircraft. I worked my last year at the Everett Plant, retiring October 1st, 1993.
Dad and Mom were married on July 1, 1950. They were married for 46 years until her death. Truly, a marriage made in Heaven. You might say that he chased her until she caught him. You see, we have heard that Mom wasn’t interested in him at first, but when he came back from the military is when they started being a couple. And as you know, the rest is history. Those of us that know mom and dad know of how inseparable they were. Even during the hard times of her illness, dad remained dedicated to her. Even after death, he remained committed to her for all eternity.
From his journal:
In the summer of 1991 Jean was having Asthma type symptoms. Her doctor, Dr. Paul Shelton, referred her to a specialist. She was then diagnosed as having COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, as well as Asthma and Emphysema. We were told that the COPD was a disease of the lungs, which was not repairable. Due to her age, of 58 years, she was not eligible for a lung transplant. Which was very depressing for her. So I decided to spend as much time with her and do those things with her as I could possibly do. This meant hanging up my skis and reducing my overtime hours at work as much as was possible. Of course, Jean kept after me to retire earlier than was planned.
July of 1991 we took a cruise to Alaska. Had a great time, although we did not do the excursions that would tax her breathing capacity. Don’t get me wrong; I only wanted to be with her not what interested me.
Each year after that, in spite of her shortness of breathe, we kept going places and doing as much as we could to enjoy each other. When we were home we always attended church service as much as we could.
Jean retired from the Kent School District in the summer of 1992. From then until October of 1993 she was always letting me know that I should retire.
Upon retiring we traded in our 26 foot tag-along trailer for a 1994 26 foot 5th wheel trailer with a slide out. Late October of 1994, we trailered a circle of the United States, heading east through Montana, South Dakota, and Illinois, to Baltimore. While there we had to have a rebuilt engine put in the truck. With Tana and family we toured Baltimore and Washington, D.C. We visited downtown Baltimore and drove up to New York to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. From there we traveled to Kentucky, Missouri, and stopped in Branson for a few days, where we met Jeans cousin, Marvela at a craft fair. After spending 3 days there we drove to Texas and spent a week with Chuck and Bev Searles. After our visit with Chuck and Bev we drove down to Louisiana, to see Marveen and Tom Boone.
While staying with Marveen and Tom we got a call that Jean’s mother was not expected to live much longer, so we left our rig at the Boones house and flew home. Jeans mom passed away 2 days after we arrived home.
After her internment we flew back to Louisiana and picked up our rig and headed toward Arizona. Arrived in Tucson 2 days later and spent a week there getting acquainted with new friends there. After a short stop in Arizona we journeyed on home.
On August 24, 1996, while working at the Kent Historical Museum, which she liked for us to do, Jean had an attack. This was an attack like the one she had in Las Vegas in 1995 and succumbed because her diseased lungs just quit working.
That fall I hooked up our 5th wheel trailer and went to Tucson, AZ which was where she enjoyed her last two winters to grieve and also be with a new set o f friends that she liked to be with.
And then, June 2002 he writes:
I must write this down!
Again today my thoughts go back to jean. I am so happy In spite of the tears, that I spent as much time with her the last 5 years of her life even though she wanted me to do my thing. As I also told her – “No, I wanted to be with her”. I knew her time was short but it turned out shorter then we (or I) actually had. “Honey, I still love and miss you. I still wear my wedding ring because we are married for time and eternity.
In fact, when I first told Dad of my engagement to my wife, Terry, he said, “I have one piece of advice for you…. Always keep her happy”. I try my best each and every day and for the past 37 years to heed Dad’s instruction.
Those of us the know dad, know that he was very interested in the genealogy of his past and our family. You might describe it as a compulsion. One goal that he had was to tour all of the places of where his family had lived. Here are his words:
In the summer of 1997 I started a tour my places of ancestor family had lived, died, or was born. My first year, 1997, I went to Castle Gate, Utah where my father was born and also where my grandmothers first husband and two of her sons were buried. From there I drove up to Rock Springs, Wyoming and visited with 3 of my cousins and visited my uncle and aunt George and Kit Flew’s graves.
I left Wyoming and drove north to Shelby, Montana and located another uncle and aunt; William and Grace Carter. The next day I drove up to Grassy Lake, Alberta, Canada and visited my grandfather William Flews grave site. While there I also found the gravesites of my great grandfather and great grandmother John and Mary June Gray Eddy. After paying my respects I drove across British Columbia down into Idaho and then on home, as Bob and Jerry were not home.
The following year (1998) I flew to Denver, Colorado, rented a car and drove to Leadville, Colorado. This is where my grandmother Flue met and married her first husband Ben Carter. She also lost and buried four children there, which I found and paid my respects to them there. After I got back home I contacted a headstone company and ordered a headstone for there grave location. I hope to visit them again before I am unable to drive.
In June of 1999 I was able to go to England and visited the grave site of Benjamin Carter who was born in Castle Gate, Utah, joined the Canadian Army during World War I, was transported to England and contracted the Spanish Influenza and died. He was then buried in the Bramshott Cemetary in Liphook. This completed my quest to visit all of my grandmother Eddy’s children and husbands and parents that have all passed on.
Dad was always passionate and committed to the church. My brother, sister, and I will always remember that the church was central to our family. We grew up in the church, and dad never left the church.
In the spring of 1996, one morning, Jean and I were discussing some of our feelings, the subject of religion came up and I mentioned to her that if she preceded me in death that I would investigate the possibility of returning to the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. And Jean said that was all right with her.
In Spring of 1998, after 2 years of talking to my cousin, Peggy Witte in Wenatchee, and reading several books about the Gospel I had an inspiration to discuss my feelings with the offices of the Latter Day Saints. In May of 1998, I made an appointment with Bishop Watson of the 1st Ward. He invited another member, Reed Olsen, to be with our discussions of church history. After our discussion, I then asked or told Bishop Watson of my desire to rejoin the church. He then happily made an arrangement for me to meet with Bishop Batson of the 8th Ward. We met and scheduled for me to meet with the Missionaries for the discussions of understanding of the scriptures.
I was then baptized June 28, 1998 and confirmed the next Sunday as a member of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”.
When I was baptized and as I came up out of the water my eyes were opened and I saw a beautiful gate with a narrow path leading to a wonderful bright light.
October 27, 2002
Last night I had a most gratifying dream. It was a question to me, asking where my wife was, because she had won. I asked what she won and the voice said, “She was going on a mission.” Where, I do not know. At this point I woke up.
May 14, 2003
Went in to Temple today. They had a reunion of all the presidency from 1978 to present. I finally got to meet, greet and talk to President Arthur Kay. He was one of my counselors when I was teenager in the Renton branch. When I stopped over to shake his hand I chocked up. He recognized me. Meeting and talking to some of the other presidents was inspiring. Met another lady that knew my mother. I am so glad to have been there.
To Dad and Mom, family was everything.
I came into their life on May 14, 1951. My brother followed on December 14, 1952 and our little sister on March 25, 1956. Together, we have given him 7 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Three of these great grands arrived within five days of each other in July.
Some of our best times were always spent together as a family. Dad’s words …
Christmas eve all my children and their children came here at the Flue Residence for Christmas Annual Event. It is so nice when we can all get together as a family. Renee, Dave, Mark and Becky are still my star boarders.
October 5-6, 2002
Met Larry, Jan and Angela at Kathy’s hair Salon this morning. We then went across the street and had a soda with them until time to go to LDS conference.
After 1st session I came home to join the rest of my family and had lunch with them until it was time to go back to church to view session #2. Had a good time with Les, Larry, Terry, Jan, Renee, and Dave. Also had a great time receiving hugs from Audrey and getting a picture taken with Audrey. She is a sweet little girl that is now starting to connect with all of the family.
November 16, 2002
Larry came down from Lynden Friday night to stay overnight with me. It was sure nice to be just the two of us to talk and bond together. This morning he gave me a birthday card from his family.
July 18, 2005
Vacation at our time-share condo in Hawaii (Oahu) for 2 weeks. Larry and Jan came and spent one week with me and had a great time.
If I could only use one word to describe Dad, I would have to use the word, Servant. Dad loved to serve. He lived to serve.
He served as a volunteer with the Kent Fire Department for 20 years from 1950 to 1970. Later he served on the Kent Board of Adjustments for 15 years. He also served as member of the CERP (Citizen Emergency Response ???). He is a founding member of the Kent Historical Society and was appointed the City Historian in May of 1996. For his church he has been ….
In June 2003, he took the following news in stride (no matter how disappointing it was).
June 10, 2003
Got a phone call today from Kent’s Fire Chief, telling me that the city is self insured and that I am too old; that I cannot drive any city vehicles. What a bummer. When I first joined the Kent Fire Department I was too young to drive any fire apparatus and now I am too old.
But, that did not get him down … he continued serving to the end in whatever capacity he could.
On August 24, 1996, the Lord took home our mother, and Dad’s eternal companion. On November 21, 2008, He completed the deal and the “dynamic duo” is once again reunited for all eternity.
Dad grieved for Mom, but he also celebrated their union and relationship. In closing, I would like to read a short piece that I found in Dad’s papers. I think that this is a very appropriate message from Dad to all of us:
I am home in heaven, dear ones;
Oh, so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in heaven at last
Did you wonder why I so calmly
Tried the valley of the shade?
Oh! But Jesus’ love illuminated
Every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus’ arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?
Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,
Pray to trust our Father’s will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remaineth –
You shall rest in Jesus’ land.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you Home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!
Finally, to Dad, I quote the following scripture:
'Well-done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' Mathew 25:21