MANKATO – A memorial service for Wallace Klages of Mankato will be 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Northview – North Mankato Mortuary, with Rev. Al Girtz officiating.
Wally 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 visitation will begin 9:30 a.m. and continue until the time of service on Saturday. The 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 Oct. 10, 1930, in Le Center, Minn., to Bryan Barger and Martha (Thilgen). Bryan died when Wally was 1 year, 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 1950, Wally enlisted in the U.S. 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 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 Jan. 17, 1957, living in Mankato until 1970, when he fulfilled a longtime 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, Minn. 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, Chris Goetz of Faribault, Minn., Kathi (Tim) Orfield of South Lake, Texas and Matt (Julie) Klages of Fairmont, Minn.; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Greg) Adamson of Dodge Center, Minn., Alex Goetz (Nikki Gens) of Mankato, Rachel and Bridget Orfield of South Lake, Texas, and Jenna and Kylie Klages of Fairmont Minn.; brother, Bryan (Claudia) Klages; and many nieces and nephews.
Wally is also survived by his great-granddaughter Emma Marie Goetz, whom 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.