Walter John Burt died peacefully in his sleep, with his wife by his side, at Luther Park on Friday, November 29, 2019 in Sandpoint, Idaho. He was two months shy of celebrating his 93rd birthday.
He was born at home on Ontario Street in Sandpoint on February 20, 1927 to John and Minnie (Dobroth) Burt, the youngest of six children having five older sisters (let the spoiling begin!) Walt attended grade school and high school in Sandpoint. He was drafted into the Army in 1945 and was in Japan when WWII ended at which time he signed up with the US Air Force. After serving our country for 2 ½ years he attended The University of Idaho on the G.I. Bill. Returning to his hometown, he courted and then married Mae Tillberg in 1951. Walt built his young family a home right next door to the house he was born in, where family members still live today.
Over the course of his working years Walt worked in many trades. In his very young years, as a Gandy Dancer on Spokane International Railroad. Was a carpenter on Albeni Falls and Cabinet Gorge Dams, also worked on Bonneville Dam and many, many bridges around the area. He was a Pile Buck on the last two long bridges in Sandpoint. In the early 60’s he did a stint working at the brand-new Schweitzer Mountain Resort, and in semi-retirement he was facilities maintenance man at Encoder Products.
After hanging up all these hats (and tool belts) Walt enjoyed a variety of activities centered around his family and home. He planted and tended over 300 fruit trees on the property. The majority were apple, but there were also pear, cherry, plums and prunes. He grew many varieties of Dahlias. His vegetable garden was well tended and enjoyed by many. He built a number of useful and unique structures around the place-he definitely had his own building code! The rest of us continually marveled at all he had accomplished in his time on this Earth. While most of what he did was carried out single handedly, sons and grandsons (occasionally daughter) recall being roped into helping with one of his “projects”.
Walt was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed everything his beloved North Idaho has to offer, from hunting and fishing to camping and skiing. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. A man of God, involved in many activities at The First Lutheran church, where he was a lifetime member. If you were lucky enough to have met Walt, you would remember his warm smile, friendly jokes and his uncanny sense of rhythm and dance moves.
He was preceded in death by his parents and all five of his sisters, Viola, Margaret Elizabeth, Edith and Inez. Grandson, Tyler and daughter-in-law, Kelli.
Walt left behind his wife of more than 68 years, Mae; children – Linda (Russell) Lacy, Dan (Jan) Burt and Doug Burt. Grandchildren, Jeff Stensland (Amber), Tami Stensland, Travis Lacy, Josh (Amanda) Burt, Jake (Dawn) Burt, Marcus (Michaela) Burt, Kendal (Dan) Roos and numerous great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He will be dearly missed by his family and everyone whose lives he touched.
All are invited to join the family in honoring Walt on Saturday, December 14th at 2:00 PM at First Lutheran Church. Reception to follow in the church fellowship hall.