Leland Delmer Walgren passed away May 2, 2012 at the Chadron hospital with all of his family whom he dearly loved by his side. Delmer and his identical twin bother, Donald, were born at the family farm home south of Hay Springs on April 16, 1925. His parents were Leland and Alice Walgren.
Del grew up on the family farm and attended grade school at Banner and graduated from Hay Springs High School in 1943. Del and Don joined the Navy in March of 1944. His Aunt Julia wrote President Roosevelt and received presidential permission for both men to serve together on the same ship, despite the five Sullivan brothers rule of not allowing brothers to serve together. Del served on the destroyer USS Rooks in the Pacific theatre earning three battle starts. He took part in the liberation of the Philippines, including the battle of Iwo Jima and others. He earned the Victory Medal of World War II and was honorable discharged in May of 1946.
He returned to Hay Springs where he farmed on the homestead for a few years. He married Peggy Riley, the love of his life, on March 16, 1952. To this union three children were born, Greg, Kim and Brad. He managed the Jack and Jill Grocery for several years before purchasing a soft drink distributorship. Del serviced businesses from Hay Springs to Valentine and several places on the Pine Ridge reservation. He was well known and had many friends along Highway 20. After selling this business, Del was a salesman for the Ideal Linen Company before his retirement.
Del was good athlete in many sports. In high school football, their team went undefeated one year and also won the area championship. He also excelled at basketball. When he returned from the Navy he played baseball. The returning veterans in neighboring towns formed town team basketball teams and held tournaments for several years with Hay Springs winning many of these.
The family spent forty plus years camping during the summers at Angostura Lake with several other families. The children all brought friends so there were always young people around for boating and water skiing. Del was always happiest when he was baiting a fishhook or pulling one of the kids behind his boat.
Del was an avid gardener for several years and was an excellent woodworker. He spent many happy hours in his woodshop and made and sold many unique items at community bazaars. However, Del’s favorite pastime over the years was always fishing. Anyone who knew him could count on hearing his favorite fishing story. Del was a jokester and loved to tease both young and old. He was able to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
When his health failed, he resided in Pioneer Manor for four and a half years where he received loving care from the staff at the Manor. His family frequently visited him and Peg was there every day to keep him company. He was preceded in death by his parents Leland and Alice Walgren, brothers Donald, Raymond and Frank, and sisters Ruth Alice (Jake) Claussen and Willa Johnson.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years Peg, sons Greg (Annette) of Hay Springs, Brad (Sherri) of Laramie, Wyoming, and daughter Kim (Jay) of Buffalo, Wyoming, sister Mary Ann Anderson (Andy) of Casper, Wyoming, three grandchildren, Sarah Jo, and twins Bradley Delmer and Annie Joyce all of Laramie, Wyoming, two step-grandchildren Sarah of Boise, Idaho and KatiRose of Seattle, Washington, brother-in-law John Claussen of Chadron, Nebraska, Everette and Shannon Langford and sons Jace and Kaden of Hay Springs, Windy and Jason Perkins and sons Jared and Jayden, and daughter Shazlyn of Scotssbluff, Nebraska, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and friends.
Services were held May 5th at the Methodist Church of Hay Springs with Pastor Rod Heilman officiating. Burial with Military Honors was held at the Hay Springs Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Hay Springs Methodist Church or Volunteer Fire Department Ambulance Fund. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Drabbels Mortuary, PO Box 443, Hay Springs, NE 69347.
Online condolences can be made at www.chamberlainchapel.com
Chamberlain Drabbels Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.