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Walior

John Thomas Walior

Aberdeen, SD

1934, 2748, Hazelrodt, Tom Berry, Tigerville, F-15 Member

As a teen, Walior helped carve Mount Rushmore

Col. John Thomas Walior: He served in WWII and the Korean war.

By Michele Gualano - Express-News Published 12:00 am, Monday, June 28, 2010

Col. John Walior's stoicism remained strong through two wars and the death of his son.

At 24, Walior navigated a B-17 bomber during World War II, and later served in the Korean War.

In 1971, Walior's son, John, a Navy pilot, was killed in a plane crash. Though he suffered hardships, Walior didn't complain - he endured.

Walior died June 21. He was 92.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Walior, who was on his way to join the Metropolitan Opera in New York, quickly changed his plans. He traded his singing career for a 30-year stint in the Air Force. But his patriotism was apparent long before WWII broke out.

As a teen, Walior worked as a carver with the Civilian Conservation Corps on Mount Rushmore, more specifically, he helped chisel George Washington's nose.

"He was a patriot from the word 'go,'" his daughter Patricia Cedeno said. "He just loved serving his country."

At times, his patriotism would lead to small disagreements with his daughter. Walior only purchased American-made cars, but while living in Germany, Cedeno told her dad she wanted to buy a BMW.

"Though I was living in Germany, it still wasn't acceptable," his daughter said. "I thought that was funny."

Prior to serving his country, Walior spent his college days playing football for Notre Dame. But his primary passion became music. When war interrupted his music gig, he never again attempted to pursue professional singing.

"He had such a beautiful voice," Cedeno said. "He sang at church and for family functions."

Being an airman allowed Walior to travel the world with his family. Together, they lived in several U.S. states; in Washington D.C. when he worked at the Pentagon; and in Japan and Germany.

"He especially enjoyed Germany, because he was raised by German immigrants so he spoke German fluently," Cedeno recalled.

Upon his retirement, Walior was working as a base engineer at Kelly. His expertise led to a new career with Frost National Bank, as their construction manager. After completing their main project, he decided to retire again - this time to Horseshoe Bay. But though he was an avid golfer, spending every day on the green wasn't satisfying.

His dissatisfaction led to a third career: He set out to earn a real estate license.

Walior mostly dabbled in commercial real estate and he also helped construct a church. After several years of residing in Horseshoe Bay, Walior and his wife, Margaret, decided to move back to San Antonio for the city's medical facilities.

In 1989, Margaret suffered a stroke. Walior spent the next 10 years caring for his wife's needs until her death. They were married 57 years.

"No matter what came along in life, he just dealt with it," Cedeno said.

Life Legacy

Col. John Thomas Walior, USAF Ret., age 92, passed away on Monday, June 21, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.

Col. Walior was born in Aberdeen, SD on March 25, 1918; was commissioned June 11, 1942 in Midland, Texas and retired after 30 years from Kelly Air Force Base, Texas on January 15, 1971.

Another member of the greatest generation, Col. Walior was a WWII and Korean War combat veteran.

He married Margaret Carberry in 1942. After his air force retirement, Col Walior was employed by Frost National Bank as Construction manager from 1971 to 1973. In 1973 his family moved to Horseshoe Bay, Texas where he worked in real estate until 1980 and then finally fully retired in 1989. Upon full retirement they moved back to San Antonio.

Col. Walior was an avid golfer, very active in his church and always had a song in his heart and on his lips.

He was preceded in death by Margaret, his loving wife of 57 years; and son, John Walior, Jr.

Col. Walior is survived by daughter, Mrs. Patricia Cedeno and husband Frank; daughter, Mrs. Barbara Rossmann and husband, Jim; son, William Mathew Walior and wife Theresa; daughter-in-law, Linda Walior; 10 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Inurnment will follow in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery with full military honors.

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