Israel Martin Walter of Millsboro, formerly of Ephrata, Pa., passed away peacefully surrounded by his beloved daughter and son-in-law Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Bayhealth-Milford Memorial Hospital.
Izzy was a great jokester and kidder, and anyone was fair game. He was born Dec. 7, 1923, the son of the late Susan Miller Walter and George Walter at home in Lincoln, Pa.
Living a country life growing up gave him a lifelong love of gardening and nature. He enjoyed spending time with his family, hunting, fishing, traveling, plants and flowers, carnivals and fairs, country music and NASCAR. His favorite driver was always Richard Petty, then Dale Earnhardt Jr. He loved to watch TV and was a lifetime member of the History Channel. He was always doing crossword puzzles and word finds. He was fiercely proud of his Native American heritage and his tribal name, Silver Eagle. He was also proud of being Pennsylvania Dutch, German and Swiss.
Israel joined the Lincoln Volunteer Fire Co. in Lincoln, Pa., as a junior member around the age of 15. He continued to serve with this company after being honorably discharged from the Air Force. He also belonged to the Ephrata Volunteer Fire Co. after moving to Ephrata with his wife and daughter. He was very proud to serve his community.
Israel was a staff sergeant in the original Air Corps, now the Air Force, and was a turret gunner and flight engineer. He was in the 454th Bombardment Group and was the last surviving member of his squadron. The 454th was a highly decorated unit receiving two presidential citations and 10 campaign awards.
During the 1980s, he reunited with three members of his squadron in Beckley, W.Va. He was extremely proud to serve and flew over 30 missions. He was shot down over Hungary and was MIA for 39 days. He was able to travel to Italy, Morocco, Africa, Russia, Germany, Romania and Hungary.
His affiliations included being a charter member of American Legion Post 24 in Dagsboro, and he also served as a post commander of that post. He was a member of the VFW in Millsboro. He was also an elder in the Tribe of the Assateague People.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy May (Virginia Mary) Fisher Walter. Israel is survived by his loving daughter, Diane Mae Wisseman and her husband Michael Edward Wisseman of Greenwood; stepdaughter, Susan Jane Hinkley of Reading, Pa.; two beloved granddaughters, Kimberly Mae Burton-Wisseman and her significant other Matt Woods of Gumboro, and Stephanie Ann Wood of Denton, Md.; four great-grandchildren, Alexis Angel Wisseman, Jacob Andrew Wisseman, Caleb Rayne Wood and Dylan Burton Wood, of whom he was very proud.
Special thank you to the staff in the ICU Unit of Milford Memorial Hospital, especially Lauren, Lynn and Michelle and to the ER staff who had to walk a fine line in treatment of Israel. Thank you also to Dr. Blyth and Dr. Brice. Everyone was wonderful and caring. Thank you to the staff of Home Instead Senior Care, Wendy, Lisa, Annette, Jean and Diane for their care of Dad while he was at home. Everyone was very nice and caring. Thank you also to Nurse Ellen and Physical Therapist Marie. Thank you Sherri Abbott with United Health Care who was so instrumental and caring in Israel's care. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m., Monday, Apr. 8, in the chapel of Berry-Short Funeral Home, 119 NW Front St., Milford, where friends may call after 10:30 a.m. Interment will be in Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Millsboro. Pastor Dave Souder from Gunboro Wesleyan Church will be officiating. Flowers accepted.