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Walter Yerby Tooke

June 4, 1919 — December 12, 2011

Walter Yerby Tooke

Walter Yerby Tooke passed away December 12, 2011 in Pueblo, Colorado. He was born on June 4, 1919 in Mexia Texas to Myrtle Alma (Yerby) Tooke (later Hessig) and Douglas Marvin Tooke and spent his childhood in Texas, moving to Pueblo at age 17. Walter attended Centennial High School followed by a year at Pueblo Junior College in 1940 before transferring to Texas Tech in 1941, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Like many patriotic young men of his generation though, he left before completing his education to serve in the Army Air force during World War II. Walter went through training as an intelligence officer and then entered Aviation training followed by further training as a p-38 photo recognizance pilot in the 13th squadron of the 8th Air Force. As this brave group helped to map out the battlefield they also wrote the manual for war-time photo aviation, losing 17 of 21 young pilots in this squadron. Walter and the other three survivors then pushed forward to train incoming pilots from their own experience, saving many lives and aircraft by sharing their hard earned wisdom. Walter was recalled to extended active duty in 1951 as an intelligence officer and was assigned to Intelligence service in 1952 at Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. He retired as a Lt. Colonel from the Air Force reserves in 1979 with 37 years of service, 11 of which were active and 26 in the reserve forces. Walter received decorations and Citations as follows: Air medal with 3 bronze stars GO 183, AF 18 Mar 1944 American Theater ribbon EAME theater ribbon with 1 bronze battle star Victory medal 2 O/S bars. Following his military service Walter began his career as a Combustion Engineer at the CF&I in Pueblo where he worked until he retired in 1984. Always a history buff Walter studied the steel industry and understood it’s impact on civilization as well as it’s chemistry in production. Walter was a member of Pueblo’s Masonic Lodge #17 for 60 years attaining the level of 32nd degree mason. He was also a member of the Alkali Shriners and drove the Kaliope in many parades. He was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church for 70 years and taught Sunday school for about 40 years – including the 10th and 11th grade children for many years followed by the Crusaders adult Sunday school class. In later years Walter loved to garden and was especially proud of his roses. He also built and flew beautifully constructed remote control model airplanes as a hobby and was always quick to visit sick or bereaved friends. Walter is survived by his twin daughters, Katherine Joan Harris (Tom) and Kathleen June Mullins (Don) along with grandchildren Roe Harris, Olen Harris, Heather Crislip and Aaron Mullins. He also has 4 beautiful great grandchildren, Todd Harris, Alexi Harris, Grace Crislip and Renna Crislip. He was preceded in death by his parents, Myrtle and (stepfather) George Hessig and his beloved wife, Martha Dell (Scott) Tooke. We would like to give special thanks to the staff at the Chateau at Sharmar who have been loving and kind as well as professional in his care in the past several years, and more recently to Frontier Hospice. Walter was a good and faithful servant, a hero in service and a friend to many. He will be missed. Graveside service will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, December 16, 2011 in the Roselawn Cemetery with Masonic Burial Rites provided by Pueblo Lodge #17 AF&AM and Military Honors provided by the Pueblo Veterans Ritual Team. A memorial service will follow at 2:00 PM at Wesley United Methodist Church, 85 Stanford, with Rev. Christine Richardson officiating. In lieu of flowers those wishing to do so are asked to make a contribution to your favorite charity in Walter’s name. Online condolences at DavisMortuary.com.
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