Walter Moe, 1947
Volume 46, Number 1, Fall 2012 (9/01/12)
Walter Moe, 1947
WALTER S. “WALLY” MOE of El Dorado Hills, Calif., died April 26, 2012, at age 89. Walter Moe (my dad) was born in Chicago to Walter and Edna Moe. He graduated from Lane Technical High School (an all-boys school) in 1940 before moving on to Illinois Institute of Technology for a year. He then left to enter the Army Air Corps, during which time he learned to fly and was assigned to fly the B-17. He was given a B-17 and a crew, and he flew to Italy at the end of 1945 during World War II. In his own words, "God protected us during 18 tough combat missions into Germany and Austria." The war ended shortly afterward, and he and his crew were able to come home. He attended Luther College in Iowa and graduated in 1947... and met and married "the love of my life" BARBARA (MORSE) MOE ‘48. He re-entered the Air Force at that point and then ultimately received his M.S. from Purdue University in jet and rocket propulsion. He came to California (first time!) in 1959, working in management with Rocketdyne, developing and producing rocket engines for the Atlas and Thor Missiles (he pointed out the John Glenn went in to orbit on an Atlas missile). Next stop was Edwards AFB (Rocket Lab) where he was head of the Liquid Rocket Division. Relocated to Alabama's Air War College in 1966 and then volunteered for Vietnam, flying 125 combat reconnaissance missions. After relocating to San Diego where we would live while Dad was in Vietnam, Mom suffered a massive brain hemorrhage nine months into Dad's time in Vietnam. So he was called home to be with her -- by God's grace, she survived and was back to normal after a long recovery. Next he went to Los Angeles to work as the program director for Titan 3 (space booster vehicle), as well as serving as the Air Force representative to the NASA selection board for the main shuttle engines. His final assignment in the Air Force was as the commander of the Air Force Propulsion Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, before retiring in 1974. Retiring from the Air Force wasn't the end for Dad. He began a new, though related, career that would span another 20 years; he joined Pratt & Whitney Aircraft as manager of its west coast office (military division). During his years there, he worked specifically on matters involving the stealth fighter and bomber. Dad lost his precious son, Rick, in 1977 -- a loss that changed our family forever. He and my mother moved to El Dorado Hills in 1992 and had a wonderful, peaceful ten years before Mom became ill and died on New Year's Eve 2002. As Dad wrote, "Barbara was a beautiful and brilliant lady when compared to my modest talents and many shortcomings, and I have missed her terribly since she left us." Again, to quote Dad, "The Lord has been very generous to this undeserving man by giving me my wonderful Barbara, three great children, Terry, Rick and Kristin, and four terrific grandchildren, Caitlin, Shane, Bree and Braden. I pray I might now be allowed to join Barbara and Rick in the Lord's house." On Thursday night, April 19, Dad suffered a massive stroke after the two of us had an absolutely perfect dinner together. He died after being removed from life support one week later. My father was a beautiful man who was all about loving and caring for his family. He was a modest man (as you can see in his writings above) who always put others before himself. He longed to join my mother and brother in heaven and to be in the presence of the Lord forever. Without question, those desires of his heart have been granted. (In case you were wondering, my father was a meticulously prepared and organized man, so he left his biography for us -- thus the quotes from him.) Wally is the brother of JERRY MOE ’49.