Waldemar August (Wally) Thiele, age 97, of Winona, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at Lake Winona Manor. Wally was born on November 2, 1919, to August and Ruth (Utzinger) Thiele in Grand Rapids, MI. He grew up on a farm in Stockton, Minnesota. Wally was a charter member of Grace Presbyterian Church where he served on the Session, the Board of Trustees and as head usher. Wally worked for Bay State Milling Company, in Winona, for 25 years in electrical maintenance. He also worked for the Corps of Engineers, at Lock and Dam 5A, in Fountain City, WI, retiring on January 1, 1986 after 18 years of service. Wally maintained his electrician's license for over 50 years. Wally married Leona Gottschalk on October 16, 1943, and the couple lived in Winona. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Wally enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, and hunting. He was a member of the Winona Rod and Gun Club, the Hiawatha Valley Bassmasters and a life member of the Lewiston Sportsmen's Club. In 1977 Wally was named the Winona Daily News Outdoor Man of the Year and he was the Minnesota Conservation Federation Conservationist of the Year in 1992. Wally enjoyed taking bus trips with Leona throughout the US, Mexico and Canada. They especially enjoyed trips to Alaska and Hawaii. Wally enjoyed watching Pawn Stars, American Pickers and Western movies. He was a former member of the YMCA and in later years enjoyed playing pool at the Winona Friendship Center. Wally is survived by his wife Leona, of 73 years; three sons, Richard (Betty), French Island, WI, Steven (Colleen), Winona, Eugene, Winona and a daughter Pamela (Greg) Lica, Winona; grandchildren Gary (Heidi) Thiele, Andrew Thiele, Darci (Brian) Prodzinski, Teri Thiele, and Jon (Allison Dopf) Lica; and great-grandchildren Casey and Abby Thiele, Avrey and Aven Prodzinski and Zinnia Lica. He was preceded in death by his parents; and sisters Ruth Seeling and Phyllis Hill. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Grace Presbyterian Church with visitation one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to Grace Presbyterian Church, 222 East Broadway, Winona, MN. Hoff Celebration of Life Center, Goodview, is assisting the family with arrangements.
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