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  Astronaut Walter "Wally" Schirra (1923-2007) (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   Astronaut Walter "Wally" Schirra (1923-2007)
spacekid2
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posted 05-03-2007 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacekid2   Click Here to Email spacekid2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My prayers for his family and friends. Wally you will be missed.

medaris
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posted 05-03-2007 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for medaris   Click Here to Email medaris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sad news. My sympathies to Wally Schirra's family and friends.

Tom
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posted 05-03-2007 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My wife and I had the privilege of spending a few moments with Wally at the New Jersey show in 2005. What great memories.

Thanks, Capt. Schirra for all you've done in the pursuit of exploration...you'll truly be missed.

RMH
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posted 05-03-2007 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RMH   Click Here to Email RMH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the great privilege to have met him at the Aviation Hall of fame when he was inducted. He was one of the first astronauts that I had a chance to meet in person. He was such a humble and spirited man that brought a smile to everyones face.

star61
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posted 05-03-2007 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another great man lost to us... very sad, but he surely did leave his mark on the world!

jam1970
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posted 05-03-2007 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jam1970   Click Here to Email jam1970     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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SpaceDust
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posted 05-03-2007 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceDust     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a guy! My favorite. You'll be missed Wally.

trajan
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posted 05-03-2007 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for trajan   Click Here to Email trajan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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x9jep
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posted 05-03-2007 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x9jep   Click Here to Email x9jep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Dirk
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posted 05-03-2007 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Walter Schirra was a former consul of Belgium for Colorado and New Mexico. I thank him, in the name of the Belgian people, for the great job he did.

Rick
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posted 05-03-2007 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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VolMan
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posted 05-03-2007 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for VolMan   Click Here to Email VolMan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With his earthly departure many great memories remain.

An accomplished Naval Test Pilot, I believe that he did early work on the Sidewinder missile. Even before his Mercury days, he earned both a great naval record and flight experience to his record.

His Mercury flight was considered a textbook flight. His humor via the "turtle" joke showed that he keep his sense of humor regardless of the circumstances.

His command of the Gemini 6 flight was of legend. His "cool" during the early engine shutdown on the aborted launch saved that flight and avoided a potentially horrid situation for him, Tom Stafford, and the program. His skill of flying in his approach and station keeping of Gemini 7 was the "turn the corner" event of the program as compared with the Soviets.

When the program needed him, he stepped in to command Apollo 7. A perfect flight was needed in order that Apollo 8 go to the moon. So, his leadership, along with the hard work and very long hours of so many fine people took us from the sorrowed ashes of Apollo 1 to the brink of the moon of Apollo 8. Again a perfect flight was needed, and for the third time Wally delivered.

Right now, Gotchas are happing in heaven. No harm intended. Laughing at these gags are Al, Gus, Deke, and Gordo. In their youth, with courage and excellence, they served their country well. Wally provided a laugh or two while delivering 3 perfect flights.

Happy Trails to You Wally.

driftingtotheright
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posted 05-03-2007 04:09 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Classiest fellow ever to don a Hawaiian shirt

CAC
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posted 05-03-2007 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CAC   Click Here to Email CAC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I went to the funeral of a very fine man this morning. I came home this afternoon to find that Mr. Schirra had died. It is appointed unto each and everyone of us a time and a place to die.

Mr. Schirra made a career out of defying death. Apparently he lived a good life and enjoyed it all the way. As I watch his interviews on NASA, I think he would have been the type that would have made a difference no matter what cards life dealt him. He had that energy. I never met him but can see it in the way he carried himself.

As I sit here, thinking about mortality, all I can ask is that each of you live your life to the fullest and try to enjoy each minute you are given but most of all, make a difference to somebody. We probably won't ever have books written about us like Mr. Schirra did, but like my friend whose funeral I attended this morning, we can all make an impact on those we meet. I know its sappy, I know it sounds like something you only hear at funerals but its true. Enjoy yourselves and make a difference. I hope each of you leave a legacy as rich as the one Wally left.

Godspeed, Mr. Schirra. Thanks for sharing a remarkable life.

divemaster
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posted 05-03-2007 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by driftingtotheright:
Classiest fellow ever to don a Hawaiian shirt


And we should all wear them PROUDLY in his honor at KSC next month!

DOX32
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posted 05-03-2007 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Swiss_space
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posted 05-03-2007 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Swiss_space   Click Here to Email Swiss_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just read this news with the deepest of sadness.

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to meet Wally Schirra in UACC meeting in New Jersey.

I will treasure his kindness and his humor forever.

Godspeed Wally Schirra, my prayers for you and your family.

SpaceCat
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posted 05-03-2007 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This will make for a rather somber HOF weekend-- but not too somber, I hope, because we know Wally wouldn't want it that way. His smile and laugh were contagious- as uplifting as any successful launch.

Dave Clow
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posted 05-03-2007 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the great privileges of this hobby is that we've been able to thank these pioneers in person for what they did. I feel lucky to have told Captain Schirra how much I admired him.

Spaceflyer
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posted 05-03-2007 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceflyer   Click Here to Email Spaceflyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had an very successful day with my exhibition and event project and just received an email that Wally passed away. I met about 10 times since 1993 and it was always outstanding talking and listening to him. I will never forget all my personal experience with hin and especially the long talks we had last year about my exhibition and events project he was scheduled to attend! I will keep this great astronaut alive in the exhibition!

Godspeed Wally!

FFrench
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posted 05-03-2007 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I heard the news very early this morning: one of those messages that you dread. You know you are going to hear it one day, but it was something I hoped not to hear for many, many more years. Wally was a guy who watched his diet, went to the gym, and looked after himself -- this was not fair, and was far too soon in life for someone who was still so active, so spirited, and with so much to offer and share. He was one of the more active former astronauts when it came to attending public events, and it's so sad to think that there are so many who will now never get to meet him.

Wally was, to many of us, a constantly refreshing non-stereotype. Unlike the square-jawed, crewcut-type that many people imagined all early astronauts to be, Wally was disarmingly human. He was a a prankster, a joke-teller who never failed to get a laugh out of an audience. He humanized the early space program in ways that some others tried, and failed to do. Wally didn't have to try: he was a natural. And, of course, he was there for it all. The only person to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flights, he was a key part of NASA events from the earliest days, to the year of the first moon landings. He was also one who was never afraid to chastise the bureaucrats when he felt they were getting in the way of a commander's right to command. With a keen engineer's mind, combined with a test pilot's instincts, these traits didn't always please others, but they got things done at a hectic time in the manned space program. It's hard to believe now, but there were only nine short months from Schirra's thorough first test-flight of the Apollo spacecraft until the moment humans first landed on the moon. At a time when NASA was still recovering from the tragic Apollo 1 fire, he commanded a vital mission which allowed Kennedy's goal to be achieved.

Personally, I'm going to miss the E-mails, the conversations, the books he loaned me, the visits to his home. He loved my wife's cookies, and it's hard to believe we won't be taking him another tray. He was such a fixture at local aerospace events, that I still can't quite accept I am not going to hear that laugh again from the other side of the room and know, "ah, Wally's here too..." He also very recently served as a personal reference for me for a job application, which was incredibly generous of him. I later learned he'd also made some behind-the-scenes phone calls to key people, which I'll forever be grateful for.

Wally was, as most here know, extremely helpful to Colin Burgess and myself on the book projects we have been working on: the first, "Into That Silent Sea," coming out only last month, containing a chapter on his first flight. He contributed vital interviews, helped us get in touch with others, proofread chapters and told us stories he'd never told in print before. I am so sad to know that he won't see the final, printed version of the second book, "In the Shadow of the Moon," when it comes out in a couple of months, as this is the one that recounts his Gemini 6 and Apollo 7 missions. I'm just glad he liked the books, trusted us enough to tell us some new stories, and we were able to capture his unique perspectives before the opportunity was lost forever.

It was a good day to be busy, to not have to stop and think too much. I have been all day at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, home of the Walter Schirra Space Flight Gallery. Amongst many other artifacts, it includes a replica of his Sigma 7 spacecraft, one of his Gemini spacesuits, and the moon rock he gifted the museum. The museum's home page has been updated to memorialize him, and a special display has been created about him in the central rotunda, inlcuding artifacts from his aviation career. It's been a day for fielding and responding to a huge amount of media interest, as Wally was so well known locally. It has helped, on a difficult day, to spend time telling them just what a great guy he was. And also, writing this.


It was a surprise and honor that, as part of his obituary notice, Robert Pearlman chose to add a link to a Wally interview I did many years ago. Looking at it again for the first time in a while, I noticed I had written Wally was sharing "tales which are now slipping from common memory into the realm of written history." That is, sadly, even more appropriate today. We've lost another original, an irrepressible, irreplaceable man, and San Diego is an emptier place for it.

nasamad
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posted 05-03-2007 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I feel honoured to have been able to spend a couple of hours at Wally's table at Burbank, Wally was all the fun I expected him to be.

A sad day for all of us...

2003hdannv
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posted 05-03-2007 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 2003hdannv   Click Here to Email 2003hdannv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had just found out about the passing of Wally Schirra and my heart goes out to the family. He will be missed by all. I was looking forward to meeting Wally Schirra at the KSC Show this June.

KSCartist
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posted 05-03-2007 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was moved to create this sketch:

Ben
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posted 05-03-2007 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another great explorer and American lost.

I'm sorry I never got to meet him.

Astro Bill
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posted 05-03-2007 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a great sketch Tim.

Godspeed to Wally Schirra!

Gordon Reade
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posted 05-03-2007 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade   Click Here to Email Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wally Schirra never won the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and do you know what, he didn't need to.

He will always be remembered as a pioneer of spaceflight. Wally didn't need another medal. His place in history is rock solid.

OOTWCook
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posted 05-03-2007 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OOTWCook   Click Here to Email OOTWCook     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For everyone who was ever touched by Wally Schirra, today is a truly sad day. You will be greatly missed. Godspeed.

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posted 05-03-2007 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunatiki   Click Here to Email Lunatiki     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Godspeed Wally Schirra. His passing is sad, but perhaps it will make people remember all the astronaut heros, living and dead, from all of the programs.

Michael Clemente
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posted 05-03-2007 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Clemente   Click Here to Email Michael Clemente     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Gilbert
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posted 05-03-2007 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I emailed my sister who teaches 3rd grade in Birmingham, AL about Wally. She had her class observe a moment of silence in Wally's honor. She called me later to tell me that during the last recess today she noticed 4 of her boys in a circle with their heads bowed. One of the boys was humming the Star Spangled Banner. When she asked them what they were doing, they replied they were honoring the "Hero" who had died today. What a great tribute to a great American.

kyra
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posted 05-03-2007 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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saturn1b
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posted 05-03-2007 06:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for saturn1b   Click Here to Email saturn1b     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A black ribbon goes around my photo of Wally. So sad to lose yet another of our heroes.

cddfspace
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posted 05-03-2007 06:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cddfspace   Click Here to Email cddfspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Part of you believes these great men will live on forever. I am glad that I had the chance to meet this great American!

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posted 05-03-2007 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FutureAstronaut   Click Here to Email FutureAstronaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonderful sketch Tim.

Knowing Wally's sense of humor, I'm sure he would have loved to see us smile, like I did after watching this video.

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posted 05-03-2007 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mercury7   Click Here to Email Mercury7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I never got to meet him but what a rich life he led and an inspiration to us all. His memory and works along with the other Mercury7 will live on. I will continue to do my part through the Mercury7 Science Center to ensure their legacy inspires generations to come. Rest in Peace

Carrie
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posted 05-03-2007 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Carrie   Click Here to Email Carrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This sure was some sad news to come home to. I'm glad I had the chance to meet Wally at the New Jersey UACC show. When the convention was over, I had some time to kill at the hotel before going to the airport, so started reading flight controller Sy Liebergot's autobiography. I realized someone had walked over to me, and looked up to see Wally peering at the page I was on, which has a pic of Sy's daughter riding a horse. He said jokingly, "You're reading about horses at a space convention"? I showed him what I was reading and he said "Oh! Well, that's okay then"!

Always getting a laugh, he was... I'll treasure the memory!

*You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.*

Lunar rock nut
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posted 05-03-2007 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar rock nut   Click Here to Email Lunar rock nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Salute!

mdmyer
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posted 05-03-2007 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wally Schirra was the first astronaut Miranda and I ever met. He went to the Kansas Cosmosphere on a book signing tour with Ed Buckbee. Miranda and I both have book collections but we did not have copies of Schirra's Space or Wildcats to Tomcats. I purchased two copies of each book before the signing. I did not know if Wally would sign copies of other books he had written but we decided to ask. Miranda also asked if we could take a photo and ask Wally to sign. I printed a copy of his famous photo in his silver spacesuit with the Mercury in the background. Then Ed Hengeveld provided a print of the Hold Kill launch scrub. We took those prints with us.

There was a line at the signing desk for Wally and Ed. Miranda and I did not take the photos and older books through the line with us, we left them on a near-by bench. We asked Wally for a photo and he agreed and Miranda had her photo taken with an astronaut for the very first time. Then I gave Wally the two copies of Space Cowboys that we purchased at the Cosmosphere. As he was signing them I asked about the older books. Wally looked down the line and kindly said that there were too many people in line and he wanted to sign Space Cowboys first. I said OK and asked if we could come back up later if the line was shorter. He said we could. About 40 minutes later the line was gone so I approached Wally and asked if he would sign and personalize two copies of Schirra's Space and Wildcats to Tomcats. He said that he would. I returned to the bench to get the books. The books were in a bag but a lady stopped me and told me that Wally was only signing books, no pictures. I said OK. Wally signed them and we chatted for just a few minutes. I had purchased a large bag of Peppernuts to give to Wally and after he signed the books I gave him the Peppernuts. I told him that I wanted to say thanks for the signatures with the Peppernuts. Then I told him that we would see him at San Antonio the following summer and he said that maybe we could get "nuts" down there too. I had to smile at that one.

We decided to tour the Cosmosphere while we were there so we took the books to the van. On the way back in Miranda asked if we were going to get the photos signed. I asked Miranda if she had heard the lady's instructions, I think it may have been Wally's daughter, saying, no photos, books only. Miranda said that she did hear that. I said OK then but Miranda asked "but aren't you even going to ask?" Well we went back up to Wally and told him about the two photos and asked if he would sign and personalize them. He said he would be happy to. We went back to the van to get the books and as we headed toward Wally the same lady saw us carrying the photos. I tried to avoid her but she cut us off. We stopped and she said "Now you asked Wally about those photos, right." I told her we had and she said OK and stepped aside. Wally signed and personalize the photo of himself To Miranda and he signed the Hold Kill launch and added GT-6 but he did not personalize it. We thanked Wally and told him that we were really looking forward to seeing him in San Antonio.

We talked to Wally the Saturday at San Antonio and he seemed to remember us. After the first day of the autograph show Miranda made a drawing of a nurse holding a large needle. She also drew a man running away from the nurse then she added the caption of "Dee O'Hara finds out just how brave Wally Schirra really is." It turned out really well. She took that drawing to the pre-banquet mixer and she showed it to Dee. Dee really got a kick out of it. Miranda told her she could keep the drawing. Dee said she would love to but she insisted that Miranda show it to Wally first. We took it to Wally and showed it to him. He laughed and told Miranda "You are bad. You are good but you are bad too". Then he gave her the drawing and blew her some kisses. Miranda and I really enjoyed this encounter with Wally. That Sunday we purchased a photo of him and asked him to sign it. Of course he remembered her and he signed it "To Miranda Lotsa Gotchas". I think Miranda understands that she got a gotcha in on the gotcha master.

Miranda and I are going to the show at the Cape this year. We had already decided to try to set at Wally's table. We were also going to stop by the Ron John's shop and get some Hawaiian shirts to wear.

I did not hear about Wally's passing until today at noon. Miranda was in school and I knew I would have to tell her when I got off work at 5. I came in and found Miranda had built an inside tent out of blankets and that she was inside it. I told her to come out because I had something to tell her. She said she was not going to come out because she knew what I had to say. She had heard about Wally's passing before I got home. It was a sad time for us.

We are very glad we were able to meet Wally. He treated Miranda with kindness and respect. Even though she is just a 13 year old girl he took the time to talk with her and give her some of his attention and that is what I will always remember about him. We still have all of the things that Wally was kind enough to sign for us. Will we miss Wally? YBYSA we will.

Tonyspace
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posted 05-03-2007 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tonyspace   Click Here to Email Tonyspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Been on my mind all day. Great loss.


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