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Walter 'Walt' Dirks

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

(Photo)
Walter "Walt" Dirks, 94, of Akron, died Friday, July 1, 2011, at the Akron Care Center.

Walter Eilert Dirks was born Oct. 12, 1916, to John and Mary (Pageler) Dirks in Brunsville. Walter grew up in Brunsville where he was baptized and confirmed in the German Lutheran faith.

He graduated from the Le Mars High School in 1934. After graduation, he worked at the First State Bank in Brunsville for one year.

In 1935, Walt and his brother, Fred, started a hardware, plumbing, heating, and appliance store in Akron.

On Jan. 6, 1937, Walt was united in marriage with Roberta Pollock. They made their home in Akron and were married for 71 years until Roberta's death on Aug.19, 2008.

In April 1944, Walt was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served on bases in California, Kentucky and Alabama. Not long after he was drafted, peace seemed imminent, so some fathers were released from the Army. Walt was honorably discharged in December 1944.

He was a proud member of Hoschler American Legion Post 186 in Akron for more than 65 years.

When he entered the service, he sold his share of the business to his brother, Fred. After his military service, he engaged in farming for one year, and then once more returned to the hardware business -- taking over the appliance and bottle gas portion. He continued in this until 1953 when he sold his business and once again became actively engaged in farming, which he enjoyed very much, until he retired in 1974.

Walt and Roberta spent 30-plus winters in Phoenix and formed many friendships there. They also spent many summer vacations at Lake Okoboji where they owned a cabin that they generously shared with their daughters and families.

Walt had many hobbies that he enjoyed tremendously. These included hunting, trap shooting, fishing, playing cards, golfing, and bowling.

Walt spoke only Platt Deutsch (Low German), his parents' primary language, until he started school and learned English. He maintained his knowledge of German the rest of his life and enjoyed speaking it with relatives, some Akron residents, and others nearby until they were gone. He was the only remaining Akron resident to speak Low German.

His beloved wife, Roberta, whom he missed until the day he died, preceded Walt in death.

Those remaining to cherish his memory include his four daughters: Judy Dirks of Northfield, Minn., Nadine (Sam) Philips of Akron, Deanna (Larry) Boe of Akron, and Sharon (Dennis) Pauling of Austin, Texas. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Karen Berg; John Philips; Ann Franzenburg; Mark Philips; Sasha Makel; Danae Werthman; Nadiya Buerk; Joanna Dubinsky; Kristen Doyle; Jennifer Garcia; and 20 great-grandchildren.

He was also preceded in death by his parents; his brothers: Ben, Henry, Fred, Ed and William Dirks and Oelrich Frerichs; his sisters: Anna Frerichs, Minnie Harms Downing, Marie Hunter, Tena Marineau, Marie Albright, Johanna Renken; and his grandson, David Pauling.

Memorial services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, July 9, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, E.L.C.A. in Akron. The Rev. Dawn Quame will officiate. Private family burial will be prior to the services Saturday in Riverside Cemetery in Akron. Military rites will be conducted by the Hoschler American Legion Post 186 of Akron. Visitation will be after 3 p.m. Friday, with the family present from 5-7 p.m., all at Carlsen Funeral Home - Schroeder Chapel in Akron.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in Walt's name to the Akron Care Center Building Fund.

Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.