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Obituary: Walla, Joseph Ludvig

Age 99

WALLA, Joseph Ludvig (Age 99) July 27, 1914 to September 5, 2013 A long-time pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, died on Thursday, September 5, 2013. Joe was born July 27, 1914 in a farm home at Farland, near Arnegard, ND. He was the third of seven children born to Jens A. Walla and Louise Rikustad Walla. His education included elementary years at Farland Consolidated in Arnegard, then high school at Watford City High, and then at the Lutheran Academy at Grand Forks, ND. Well known for his high tenor voice, Joe was first tenor in a quartet that traveled the United States in the summers of 1935 to 1941, singing at various church concerts and on the Lutheran Hour to help pay for their schooling. In the fall of 1937, the quartet traveled to Europe, presenting concerts in Denmark, Norway, and England. He attended both Augsburg College in Minneapolis and Seattle Pacific College, and graduated from the Lutheran Brethren Seminary, Fergus Falls, MN in 1940. On December 21, 1945 Joe married Alice Sylvia Vettrus. He later entered the seminary at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, graduating in 1948. After graduating, Joe was ordained at the Denny Park Lutheran Church in Seattle. He and Alice served as missionaries in Colombia, South America, with the Evangelical Lutheran Mission for two years. Returning to the States, from January 1952 to December 1955, Joe served congregations in a four-church parish at Wildrose, ND; from January 1956 to January 1968, he served in a two-church parish in Chester, MT; and from February 1968 to August 1979 he served at Selbu Lutheran Church in LaCrosse, WA. Joe retired from full-time ministry on August 31, 1979. He served as a visitation pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Spokane for most of the next twenty years, except for the three-year period when Alice was ill and they moved to Kalispell, MT. Alice died in Kalispell on November 15, 1991, after almost 46 years of marriage. In the years following, Joe reconnected with Belva Marie Nerlien of Wisconsin, who had worked in the missionary field with Joe and Alice in Colombia. Joe and Belva were married August 30, 1996. They spent the past ten years at Park Place Retirement Community in Spokane Valley. Belva died on April 13, 2012. Joe is survived by one brother-in-law, and many nieces and nephews who have warm memories of their kind and loving Uncle Joe. As a pastor, he touched the lives of many parishioners and co-workers. We will miss Joe, but are happy he has entered into peace in Eternity with his Savior. There will be a memorial service at Zion Lutheran Church, 8304 E. Buckeye Ave, Spokane, WA on Friday, September 13, 2013, at 1:00pm.