Mount is featured Ostrander Care and Rehab resident
Ostrander Care and Rehab administrator
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 6:16 AM
Recently, Walter Mount came to live at Ostrander Care and Rehab, relocating from Stewartville. At 99 years of age, just last year he was still assisting younger aviation enthusiasts with preparing airplanes for recertification.
He was born Oct. 3, 1912, near Lahore, located in Hancock County, Ill. Walter was the eldest child, with four sisters. His sisters include Maxine and Idyll, both now deceased, and Katherine and Madeline. His father was Seneca Lee, referred to as S. Lee Mount, and his mother was Amble Stevens.
Walter attended country schools and graduated from high school in 1930. Following high school, he attended Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., acquiring machinist training while employed by Caterpillar, also in Peoria.
Much information about his military service is chronicled in a publication entitled "Dad's Story," written by Walter's daughter-in-law Carol. She graciously provided much of the information below:
"In 1942, Walter began a 43-month stint serving his country in World War II. Following approximately 30 days of basic training at Jefferson Base in St. Louis, Mo., he traveled by train to San Francisco, where he stayed for a week before boarding a ship for Oahu, Hawaii. He became part of the 333rd Fighter Squadron in the 318th Fighter Group.
"His experience as a machinist at Caterpillar contributed to his becoming an aviation mechanic. Following a nine-month deployment to Canton Island in the Pacific, Walter's squadron was sent to Bellows Field in Oahu, remaining there for about three months before being sent to Saipan. As the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands chain, Saipan's physical size is about 12.5 miles long and 5.5 miles wide."
While stationed in Saipan, Walter employed his machinist and aviation mechanics abilities in diagnosing, maintaining, and repairing U.S. aircraft for the war effort. At the commemoration of the WWII Veterans Memorial in St. Paul June 8, 2007, Walter and other World War II veterans each received a WWII Vets Medallion. A document accompanying the Medallion states, in part:
"On behalf of the 60th Commemoration Committee and VFW Post 3457, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, it is a great honor to present you our WWII Medallion. The medallion consists of the Official Seal of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island on one side and the logo of the 60th Commemoration on the other, with honor guard, names and years of the battle of Saipan and Titian and later battles in Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the air campaign which was supported from the airfields on Saipan and Titian. Also inscribed on the medallion is the phrase, "Our Grateful Islands Remember," a deep-rooted feeling preserved by our undying appreciation for your service."
Following his discharge from military service, Walter married Elizabeth Marie Bricker in Illinois Aug. 4, 1946. Four sons and three daughters were part of the family: Stephen of Minnetonka, David of Spring Valley, Gale of Oronoco, Sandra of Leopilis, Wis., Marcia of San Francisco, Calif., and Jill of Brainerd. The couple's fourth son Eric died in a house fire.
The family lived in Peoria, where Walter again worked at Caterpillar. The family also farmed in Illinois, later moving to Minnesota. In 1955, he purchased the Redwood Falls, Minn., airport. While living there, their house was destroyed in a fire, and because of severe burns suffered by one of the Mount daughters, the family moved to Stewartville in order to be close to Mayo Clinic.
Walter worked for Gopher Aviation until the business went out of existence. In his later employment and eventual retirement years, Walter was self-employed, but closely tied to the aviation industry.