Wally Klages passed away peacefully on Saturday March 23, 2013, at Oaklawn Health Care Center following a lengthy battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). This disease was a result of his exposure to defoliants used during his time in the military. He faced his diagnosis and accompanying disabilities with courage and dignity without complaint.
A memorial service honoring Wallace
will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, April
6, 2013, at the Northview - North Mankato Mortuary, with Rev. Al Girtz officiating. A visitation will begin at 9:30 AM and continue until the time of the service. Northview - North Mankato Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be made to the ALS Association Development Department 27001 Agoura Road, Suite 250 Calabasas Hills, CA 91301
Wallace Bryan Klages was born October 10, 1930, in LeCenter, MN, to Martha (Thilgen) and Bryan Barger. Bryan died when Wally was 1 year and 10 days old. They then moved in with his aunt and uncle, Helen and Clarence Zachor in Mankato. Following Martha's marriage to Theodore Klages, Wally and his brother Bryan were both adopted by Ted. Wally graduated from Loyola High School in 1948. In September of 1950 Wally enlisted in the United States Air Force and served as an MP during the Korean Conflict. His service also included tours in Japan and Germany prior to being honorably discharged in April of 1953. Always skilled with his hands, Wally decided on a career in the pipe trades. He attended Mankato Vocational School obtaining triple licensure and proudly worked as a plumber/steamfitter/welder under the United Association of Steamfitters and Pipefitters local #455 until his retirement in 1992.
Wally married Janice Mae Owen on January 17, 1957, residing in Mankato until 1970 when he fulfilled a long time dream of buying a small hobby farm where they lived until they retired in 1992. Enjoying anything to do with the outdoors Wally was also a skilled metal sculpting artist for which he received recognition. Upon retiring he took up golf, spending hours on courses in Minnesota and Texas. Retirement winters were spent in the hill country of Texas and summers at the cabin on the Snake River in Pine City, MN.
With his health declining, Wally, without complaint, made the decision of moving into a nursing home and had always said the staff at Oaklawn couldn't have been better.
Wally is survived by his wife Jan of Mankato. His children and their families: Chris Goetz of Faribault, MN, her children Elizabeth (Greg) Adamson of Dodge Center, MN, Alex Goetz (Nikki Gens) of Mankato, Kathi (Tim) Orfield Rachel and Bridget of South Lake, TX, Matt (Julie) Klages, Jenna and Kylie of Fairmont, MN. A brother, Bryan (Claudia) Klages, many nieces and nephews. Wally is also survived by his great granddaughter Emma Marie Goetz who he referred to as the Wonder Child. Emma could always bring a smile to her Bonca's face and the thing that brought the biggest smile to his face was the first real kiss she gave him.
Wally was preceded in death by his parents and nephews Eric Steinberg and Paul Klages.