IN LOVING MEMORY: Walter "G-Pop" Menard, 1908-2006
"When an old man dies, a library burns down." ~ African proverb
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G-Pop passed away on Easter morning, the one holiday that we grew up celebrating annually with him and my Grandma in Florida. I hope that now they are finally together again. G-Pop: You taught us grandkids about political incorrectness, Irish pride, dancing, gratefulness, the beach, the bureaucrats, and binary code. But most importantly, you taught us that one is never "too old" to start living life to its fullest, and to always keep dancing. We love you and we'll miss you dearly.
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Walter "Pop" John Menard, died at the Don and Marilyn Anderson HospiceCare Center on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006, just a few days short of his 98th birthday. He was born on April 28, 1908, in the Edgelawn neighborhood of Chicago, to parents Euclide Menard of St. Remi, Quebec and Celia (nee Kaveny) of County Leitrim, Ireland. Pop's older brother, James E. preceded him in death. Pop was there at the birth of the automobile, airplane and telephone, not to mention space travel, nuclear power and cell phones. Technology intrigued him and he was self-taught to understand it all, both at the beginning and the end of the 20th Century. He had a 44-year career with Ma Bell (AT&T), starting at Illinois Bell in downtown Chicago, moving to the worlds of Alaska with Western Electric to build DEW line radar stations, and finishing his working life at New York Bell in the Bronx, New York, where his final assignment was to figure out how to convert New York City from dial to touchtone. He married Rosalie Wardenski in 1932, and had three sons: David W. of Dayton, Ohio, an USAF Master Sergeant and aviation historian and author, H. James (Mary) of Alicante, Spain, a U.S. Foreign Service officer, and Michael Ross (Marita) of Madison, a real estate developer. His second marriage was to Eleanor Baker of New Rochelle, N.Y., a kindergarten teacher. They retired in 1970 and traveled North America extensively in their VW camper, the White Knight. In 1974, they settled near Venice, Fla., where they were invaded annually by the grandkids and spent their time taking care of older neighbors and volunteering in civic groups such as Meals on Wheels. When El's health diminished, they moved to Madison in 1990 to be near relatives. El died in 2001, and Pops moved to Oakwood West independent living apartments in 2004. Pop was active until the end, traveling to Ireland to visit his mother's home, spending New Years Eve in Trafalgar Square, London, visiting with penguins in Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, and cruising the Amazon. He was an active Libertarian and Kiwanis and volunteered with the Alzheimer's Association, Westside Coalition for the Aging, St. Marys Hospital, and Blackhawk Evangelical Free Church, specializing in mailings. He is survived by six adoring grandchildren, Michelle (Robert) Kingsbury of Shoreview, Minn., Lisa of St. Paul, Minn., Nicole of Eugene, Ore., Jennifer of Vancouver, B.C., David of Boulder, Colo., and James of London, England. There are also four great-grandsons, Noah, Zane, Aidan and Max Kingsbury; who will miss his storytelling and simultaneous belly rubbing while sticking out his tongue. He was dearly loved and his witticism and pithy pronouncements will be greatly missed. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, 2006, at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, with a visitation one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to HospiceCare, Inc., or the Alzheimer's Association. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 3610 Speedway Road (608) 238-3434 www.cressfuneralservice.com