Walter E. Rist
Mr. Rist was born May 24, 1930 in Lodz, Poland to his German parents Adolph and Else (Behnke) Rist of Lodz, Poland. Walter emigrated from war torn Germany at the tender age of 21 with just a suitcase and a dream of becoming an American and settled in the metro Detroit area. Upon applying for citizenship, he was invited to join the U.S. Army and served for 16 months in the Korean War. He distinguished himself with several decorations and medals, among which are the Korean Service Ribbon with 2 Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
Mr. Rist was married to Sighild Hoch (immigrant from Berlin, Germany) where they had Andrew Rist (Holly) of Kiev, Ukraine, and Audrey Curry (Edwin) of Portage, MI. Walter married Aileen Cote York (children Daniel York (Debbie) of Pottstown, PA and Carol (Lew) Evans of Racine, WI) on May 5, 1966 and combined their families and enjoyed 48 years of marriage.
Walter worked as a toolmaker for Schiller Corporation, Golnick, then partnering with Leslie Fordham, started his own company, Radian Tool & Engineering now located in Troy, Michigan retiring in 1995. Walter stayed connected to his German heritage and was a long-time member and treasurer of the Detroit Schwaben Unterstuezungs Verein, an affiliate of the German-American Cultural Center. He and Aileen were members of First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Clemens where Walter served as an elder, was in the chancel choir and the handbell choir. Walter had a zest for music, boating, biking, camping, and traveling the world. He attended many music concerts of his children and grandchildren. When Walter and Aileen settled in the Kalamazoo area in 2003, they became members of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Portage.
Walter is preceded in death by his wife, parents, and siblings, Theodore (Gertrude) Rist, Elisabeth Rist, Harry (Lily) Rist, and George (Vera) Rist. He is survived by his sister Magdalene (Gerhard) Schiemann along with his children, ten grandchildren, and five great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. Walter’s family would like to thank his caregivers at Alamo Nursing Home where he was considered family and delighted the residents and staff with his singing and sense of humor.
Mr. Rist was lain to rest with full military honors in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan.