Gordon Allen Walser died Friday, December 2, 2011, in Bastrop, Texas, just a month before his 94th birthday. Gordon was born on January 11, 1918, in Lampasas, Texas, to Benjamin Haden Walser and Viola Jennings Walser. He moved with his family to Austin and graduated from Austin High School in 1936, then learned the communications field working with Western Electric. In 1943, Gordon joined the Navy and rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the Seabees serving in the South Pacific until the end of World War II. The Seabees (from C. B. for Construction Battalions) were created as a result of the need for a militarized Naval Construction Force to build advance bases in war zones, since civilians were not allowed to resist enemy military attacks under International Law. Before and after the War, Gordon worked with Western Electric for more than thirty-five years, including in the Territory of Alaska during the Cold War while constructing the communications system code named White Alice by the US Defense Department. This was an extension of the Distance Early Warning (DEW) Line involving construction of huge parabolic antennas connecting remote Air Force sites with command facilities in the lower 48 for monitoring activities along the Russian coastline. Gordon worked throughout Alaska occasionally transported by bush planes to distant locations since the antennas were placed 150-175 miles apart. After President Lyndon Baines Johnson closed the Texas White House, Gordon was part of the team to remove the secure telecommunications system.
Gordon married Laura Sachtleben McDowell in 1965 and became a step father and grandfather to Laura’s two sons and grandchildren. He was affectionately known as “Pop” and “Pape Schatz”. Laura and Gordon were married 37 years and lived in Blanco, Texas, until her death in 2002. Gordon was predeceased by his parents, sisters Agnes, Tessie Mae and Frances and brothers, Herbert and Daniel A. He is survived by his two step-sons, Dr. Jim Wittliff and wife, Mitzie of Louisville, Kentucky and Bill Wittliff and wife, Sally of Austin; by four grandchildren, Derich, Kurt, and Reid Wittliff and Allison Spencer; seven great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Many in Blanco will remember Gordon for the delicious breads that he baked and delivered to the Post Office, EMS, Police Station and the Blanco National Bank. His family is blessed to have many beautiful pieces of furniture Pop designed and built from woods such a mesquite and walnut, as remembrances of this loving and generous man. More than a decade ago, a grower in Kentucky named a daylily “Pape Schatz” for him and one for his wife, Lady Laura.
The family would like to thank Lost Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bastrop, Texas, for the care they gave Gordon and would especially like to thank his nephew, Reverend Gordon A. Friday, and his wife, Jnoetta, for all the attention and kindness they gave to Gordon in his final years.
Burial will be in Blanco, Texas, and memorial services will be held at the Marrs-Jones-Newby Funeral Home in Bastrop, Texas, on December 8 and at the Blanco Cemetery at 12:30pm on December 21, 2011. In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts are made to the Blanco Chapter of the American Cancer Society.