Thursday, August 28, 2014

Obit of Francis N. Walle

Many will know this gentleman:

BLOOMINGTON — Francis N. Walle, 101, of Bloomington, died at 7:12 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 23, 2014) at
OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington, with his family surrounding him.
A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Church of Downs, with Monsignor Greg Ketcham
officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Carmody-Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home,
Bloomington, with a prayer service at 3:30 p.m. Additional visitation will be 30 minutes prior to Mass Friday
at the church. Graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Melvin Cemetery, Melvin. In lieu of flowers,
memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary’s Church of Downs, Melvin Fire Department or American
Cancer Society.
Francis was born Oct. 26, 1912, in Pella Township, near Piper City in Ford County, to Frederick G. and
Matilda Bouhl Walle. He married his love and lifetime partner, Ardell A. Zimmerman, on Jan. 28, 1943, in
Piper City.
Surviving are his wife, Ardell; five children, Carol (Gordon) Dremann, Princeton; Steve Walle, Bloomington;
Dean Walle, Tucson, Ariz.; Mary (Stephen) Peterson, Bloomington; and Richard Walle, Tucson, Ariz.;
daughter-in-law, Karen Walle, Petersburg; 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Preceding him in death were his parents; three brothers; son, David Walle; and grandson, Eric Peterson.
He graduated from Piper City Community High School in 1930, continued to help on the family farm for
several years, then went to work for Ford County Service Company (later called Growmark FS) in Melvin,
from which he retired 40 years later.
Francis belonged to St. George Catholic Church in Melvin for 60 years, serving as parish council president,
lector, choir member and parish hall manager. He was past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post
6334 in Melvin, past president of Melvin Lions Club, 66-year member of the American Legion in Melvin,
Peach Orchard Township trustee for 29 years, 31-year volunteer of Melvin Fire Department and a member
of the Melvin State Bankers bowling team for 40 years. After moving to Downs 10 years ago, he became a
member of St. Mary’s Church of Downs, VFW Post 6289 in Gibson City and Downs Senior Citizens group.
He entered the U.S. Army in 1942, and served in World War II as a lieutenant in the 310th Field Artillery
Battalion attached to the 79th Infantry Division in Europe (England, France, Belgium and Germany) from
Francis was a musician who sang and played by ear many instruments, beginning as a boy with the Walle
Brothers band in Piper City. He was trumpeter for the Jolly Sailors dance band that performed in Central
Illinois in the 1940s and 1950s, and played taps for military funerals and patriotic holidays until he was well
into his 80s.
Francis was an entertaining, charismatic fellow who was liked by everyone he met.
Underneath his jovial charm, Francis had a strength of character that inspired others — he showed by
example that every person is worthy of kindness and respect, and that you can lead a good life by workinghard and loving each other. It's hard to say which he did better: make you laugh or make you feel loved.
Endlessly interested in his physical world, he was a gifted gardener and could fix almost anything. He liked
watching sports, especially the Cubs, Bears and Illini basketball. In particular, he enjoyed family gatherings,
where he loved to tell stories of his many life experiences. His memory will always bless his loving wife and
To express condolences online, please visit
Francis Walle

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