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Walter Gregory Feuerborn, 90, died peacefully in his home on September 3, 2023. He was born to Frank and Mary (Bowman) Feuerborn. He was the tenth of twelve children, born during the Great Depression on their farm outside Garnett, Kansas. When Walter was 11, his mother passed away. He was always grateful to his older sisters for their love and care after her passing. He walked ten miles uphill both ways to school, milked cows, drove plows and hunted to sell furs. Walter first left the farm when drafted by the Army to serve in the final days of the Korean War. He described boot camp as his “first vacation”, as it was so much easier than life on the farm - they even got to sleep in!
When Walter was 25, his sister Delma pushed him into taking her babysitter, Judy, on a blind date. Judy’s response to Delma at the suggestion was, “I babysit your 12 children; do I have to babysit your little brother, too?” Walter was handsome and far from little, at 6’4”. Judy was the girl for him. They were married in 1960, and bought a house in Shawnee, Kansas the following year. They filled their home with nine children and shared 63 happy years of marriage until Walter passed away with Judy holding his hand. She was his whole world and he was hers.
Walter was a faithful Catholic and a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church for 62 years. He was an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and a long time participant in Perpetual Adoration at the parish chapel. He was also a Lifetime Member of the Knights of Columbus. Along with his faith, he passed on his values of honesty, integrity, and putting in a good day’s work.
Walter began working for Shawnee Construction in 1959, and retired as Superintendent, in 1998. He saved the life of a coworker who was buried alive when a trench collapsed, and also rescued a woman whose boat capsized in the river next to his jobsite. A favorite uncle to so many, he employed many of his nephews and all three of his sons. Working for him motivated more than a few boys to go back to college.
Walter and his brother, Frank, purchased the family farm from their father in 1968. He enjoyed many years of taking his family hunting, fishing and picnicking on the farm. Walter became a farmer again when he retired from construction, growing wheat and soybeans. He was also a skilled vegetable gardener, known especially for his tomatoes.
Walter was a natural comedian and story-teller, who never let the exact truth interfere with a good punchline. His “Waltisms” entertained family and friends over dinner and card games until his last days. His true life calling was realized in 1989, when he became a Grandpa. He excelled at underdoggies, horsey rides, puzzles, and ear-wiggling. He taught them how to shuck corn, play checkers, drive a tractor, and hunt mushrooms. Most importantly, if there is more than one kind of pie, it’s okay to have a little of each…and we should have ice cream.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Lisa Coplen; grandson, Steven Koch; son-in-law, Anthony Corigliano; and his siblings Gale, Martin, Max, Clifford, Leonard, Ann Wilkerson, Grace, Delma Powelson, John and Chester.
Walter is survived by his wife, Judy; children: Tim (Vee), Greg (Anne), Annette Corigliano, Michelle Kinimaka, Matt (Jody), Molly (Robert) Brown, Katie (Paul) Mertz, Jennifer (Jeff) Koch; son-in-law, Rob Coplen; twenty-four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, with one on the way; and brother, Frank (Nancy).
Visitation will be 6-8 pm Thursday at the St. Joseph Catholic Church where a rosary recitation will be at 7:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 am Friday at St. Joseph Catholic Church; burial in St. Joseph Cemetery, Shawnee, KS. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to St. Joseph Catholic Church.
St. Joseph Catholic Church
11311 Johnson Dr,, Shawnee KS 66203