Born: September 27th, 1930
Departed: September 7th, 2021
“Wally”, as he preferred to be called, laughingly stated that “Milton and Wallace are like double negatives, so just call me Wally!” Wally went to heaven September 7th, 2021 after many false alarms over the last 20 years. His daughter always told him, lovingly with laughter, “You’re too stubborn to die” He was so stubborn in fact he outlived, falling off roofs and breaking his back, getting tossed from snowmobiles about ripping off his arm, brain surgery from falling and crushing his head where Doctors told him he’d never hunt or drive again (kicking his daughter under the table and winking at her as if to say, “Watch this!”, gunshot to the head (not from the war, from a pheasant hunting trip after his return from the war), broken ribs from falling down an embankment then crawling half a football field back to his truck then driving himself to his grandsons telling him he didn’t feel well, (he had a heart attack), driving himself from his fishing hole after having a widow-makers heart attack then stopping to pick Joan his wife up on the way, stents-many stents put in, more heart attacks, strokes, falls, more broken back bones…”the man has more lives than 10 cats” his daughter says.
His nephew came up with the name “Warrior Spirit” because Wally was as strong as a Bull and just kept coming back from accidents that should’ve taken him out. This characteristic of Wally’s has taught his family to NEVER GIVE UP on life or anything: “Do or do not, there is no try.” His family says it’s because he had work to do and he was in the business of saving souls for the Lord! He wasn’t going out easily or until he was good and ready! Nothing seemed to stop him.
Heralded as being of Irish and Scottish descent, his ‘smiling eyes’ hold true of the depiction of a happy Irishmen! Wally was born in Battle Creek, MI, residing briefly, then moving to Decatur, MI to make home with his parents and 5 fun-loving siblings (Evelyn, Anne, twins Jean & Jeanette, with Lloyd being the youngest and Wally sandwiched in between). He was born into this big, beautiful world by Marguerite Maguire Dow and Milton Lloyd Dow (MITT DOW, recruited by The Chicago Cubs). Wally soon learned of the athletic prowess his dad wore, and it became a hand-me-down he would don as well! Becoming quite a prodigy in basketball he earned himself quite a few Varsity letters as well as notoriety.
Growing up with 8 people in one house with one bathroom turned all of his siblings into pranksters, always joking around, sometimes to the point of “getting the others goat!” Comedic relief helped them get through the depression and years of hard times and curve balls that life threw their way. Upon graduating from high school, Wally joined the service, deciding on the Army, defending our country in The Korean War, initially stationed in Okinawa. While there he joined the basketball team and traveled around playing to the point of “upsetting the apple cart”, everywhere they played! Eventually Wally’s team became the ‘Island Champions’, playing against greats like The Harlem Globetrotters and many more A rated teams!!
While serving his country, his sisters who were in college started scheming and matchmaking their brother with their roommate Joan Overhiser! Wally and Joan had never met, yet through the power of words, fell head over heels for one another. Pictures were sent, letters were shared and Love began over the vast distance, until they would meet, marry and begin a family!
While Wally served his country, he saw friends taken right before his eyes, breaking his heart while infusing him with love and compassion for humanity. Wally had that tough guy exterior but his insides were being changed. Growing up in a Christian home he said he was taught one thing yet did another, until he realized his need for Jesus’s love, forgiveness and acceptance. Wally’s watermelon sized heart had difficulty when it came to war. He defended his country with thoughts of people dying that didn’t know Jesus, he shuddered when talking about it. Wally’s love for people grew after accepting Jesus as Lord of his life and he realized he needed to help others understand and feel Jesus’s love.
His words “I CARE!” became a goad prodding him on to action, believing that if he cared enough, he should do something about it! Over the years Wally has made it his mission to share Jesus with someone every day of his life, a promise to God after almost dying from brain surgery. He lived his life in such a way that what he did would outlast him! He began thinking of ways to teach others about Jesus on a bigger scale, meaning more than one at a time. We are called to have BIG VISION according to Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” He met with others that shared his vision and Christie Lake Bible Camp was built in Lawrence, Michigan. Hundreds of thousands of kids, teens and adults camped and retreated there over the years and Wally will be thanked by God himself for acting on his dream!
Wally was accomplished in many things, beginning with a Plastering business he owned, artistically creating swirled ceilings and cove work that to this day hold their beauty in many a home in the Paw Paw area. He was a carpenter of Dow Construction building hundreds of homes all over Southwest Michigan. Interestingly enough Wally never attended college however had enough gumption to self-educate and pass entrance exams for licensure. Tooting Wally’s horn could take up the rest of this page, however the most important thought he would want you to remember about his life is to think on this question: Are you going to heaven with me?” Many people would respond saying “I hope so” …with that being said he would respond by saying, “You should know so.”
Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but in the end, it leads to death.” Many people live for themselves, God’s people seek His advice first and then ‘Go Ye’ and teach others of God’s love and sacrifice. Wally was good at talking, especially over a cuppa coffee, he typically bought for anybody that he invited to his table at McDonalds! He followed the Bible’s lead that says: “…How can they hear about Him unless someone tells them…” Romans 10:14.
Wally had many ‘one-liners’ that were direct, to the point and easy to remember. He loved sharing stories stating: “You talk about the things you love” and if he had already shared a story with you, he would say, “Repetitions how you catch on”. Wally was a ‘wise guy’ in every sense of word, very knowledgeable and very sarcastic, making him easy to love and laugh with. His most famous line that he used his entire life, when asked ‘How ya doing?’ was: “BETTER THAN I DESERVE” This was his way of getting you into a conversation with him, it was his ‘lead into’ telling you about the most important issue of life, having a relationship with Jesus by making Him Lord of yours! All one has to do is:
1)Realize you do wrong (sin)
2)Realize your need for Jesus, believing with your heart, not a belief in your head
3)Ask Jesus to forgive your wrong doing
4)Ask Jesus to take control of your life by receiving His free gift of salvation
5)Study and learn, act on what you read, by sharing with others.
We as a family know Wally has paved the way by leading by example. Sometimes his ways were crass, rough and not so polished but he was not only a Christian, he was a human. People tend to think once someone becomes a Christian, they stop being a human, calling them “hypocrites”. Wally clears that up by saying, “Those who accept Jesus into their lives are saved by grace, not by anything they do or don’t do, it’s a gift that you receive once you have decided to live for God.” Ephesians 2:8 He also used to say “I’m a slob sinner, I’ve done so many stupid things but Jesus loves me anyway, just like a parent loves their kids when they mess up.” And that my friends is why Wally says: “I’M BETTER THAN I DESERVE!!!”
If you want to know more about Jesus, contact any of the family members listed below, they would enjoy telling you of Jesus!
Wally is survived by his wife Joan of 67 years, 3 children, respectfully Linda Dow of South Haven, Ed and (Gayle) Dow of Schoolcraft, Sandy (Gary) Haga of South Haven, 6 grandchildren: Gabriel Dow, Jonathon Dow, Kendall Dow, Tyler Dow, Becky Haga (Dustin) Wagaman, Karly Haga (Karl) McCullough and great grandchildren.
A Memorial Service for Wally will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at 11 A.M. at the Anchor Baptist Church, 71925 M-43 South Haven, Michigan 49090. Wally will be laid to rest with Military Honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery on Monday September 27, 2021 at 2 P.M. in Augusta, Michigan.
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