Cover photo for Walter Henry Brendecke, Jr.'s Obituary

Walter Henry Brendecke, Jr.

Walter Henry Brendecke, Jr.

died on April 3, 2021 in Phoenix, AZ.  He was 91.  Walter was born in Chicago, IL on July 1, 1929 to Walter, Sr. and Margaret Brendecke.  Walter graduated from Thomas Kelly High School in 1947, and in August of 1948 enlisted in the Air Force, then a branch of the U.S. Army.  Soon afterward, Walter transferred to Arizona where he was promoted to Sergeant in the 3528


Maintenance Squadron at Williams AFB until January of 1950, when he enlisted in the AF Reserves, serving until October of 1953.

In 1949, during his service in Chandler, Walter met Jo Alice Trosper at a dance.  (Mom always remembered that Dad was wearing brown trousers, a white shirt, and a yellow tie.)  Walter and Jo were married on June 19, 1949.  After his AF service, Walter attended Phoenix Community College, studying electrical engineering.  Walter and Jo moved to El Segundo, California in the late 1950’s, where Walter received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the College of Engineering at the University of Southern California.   Walter and Jo then returned to their home in Phoenix where they raised their two children, Jeffrey and Alyson.

Walter was an electrical engineer and manager in the ICF department at Motorola, Inc. and retired after 40 years.  Once retired, Walter and Jo spent their leisure time playing golf, spending time at their cabin on the Mogollon Rim in the summers, working on home improvement projects, and traveling to visit family and friends.  Walter also amassed quite a collection of antique radios that he enjoyed restoring to their former glory.  As his home workroom became increasingly too small for his restoration projects, Walter built a radio workshop in his backyard that he called the Radio Shack.  As Walter’s radio collection grew to take up every spare inch of wall and floor space in almost every room of the house, Walter had a room added onto the house for the sole purpose of becoming his private radio museum, complete with red velvet ropes in the doorways.

SirWalt, as he liked to be called, had many philanthropic endeavors, including donating blood and platelets well into his 60’s at United Blood Services, until he started taking blood thinners; volunteering his time and expertise for more than 10 years refurbishing donated computer and technology equipment for Arizona schools and non-profits through AZ StRUT, a non-profit organization started by Intel and Motorola in 1997; judging the annual Future City Arizona Competition, a program that introduces students to engineering concepts through practical applications of math and science. Student teams are guided by volunteer engineers and teachers as they design and build their vision of the urban world of tomorrow; acting as a judge for the Annual Arizona Science & Engineering Fair at the Arizona Science Center; volunteering time at Habitat for Humanity building sites in Arizona, as well as building and renovation work on Native American Reservations in northeastern Arizona; trail building and restoration through Arizona Trail Association; independent living and tax aide volunteer for seniors through AARP; and working at his local election polling place.  SirWalt was also a longtime supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Arizona Humane Society, Smile Train, and Hillsdale College, to name a few.

Besides antique radio restoration, SirWalt pursued many other hobbies over the years, including learning to play classical guitar (which he gave up due to his “fat fingers”), making silver jewelry through the method of lost-wax casting, making stained-glass, and yoga.  In recent years, SirWalt added slot machines to his restoration projects.  SirWalt also loved the outdoors, and was active in mountain climbing, backpacking, snow skiing, riding roller coasters, and even snowshoeing in his earlier years, tried ziplining and skydiving in his 80’s, and continued biking and participating in 5+ mile desert/wilderness hikes with a much younger group up to the age of 90.  Throughout his life, SirWalt continued learning new things, enrolling in online courses, seminars, and lecture series in ancient history, astronomy, and German, even taking flying lessons at Falcon Field, along with many other interests.  In the early days of home computers, SirWalt built his own, and enjoyed playing online video games (namely, the Age of Empires series) with Jeffrey, Alyson, and his grandson, Martin.

After 54 years of marriage, Walter was preceded in death by his loving wife Jo Alice.  Walter is survived by his son Jeffrey Brendecke (Gabriele Kottwitz), grandson Martin Brendecke, daughter Alyson Brendecke, brothers Robert and Kenneth Brendecke, along with brother-in-law James Williams, many nephews and nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces, and many other extended family and friends.

Jeffrey and Alyson will host a celebration of life on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. MST at Bueler Mortuary, 14 W. Hulet Drive, Chandler, AZ 85225 followed by interment at City of Mesa Cemetery, 1212 N. Center St in Mesa AZ where Walter will join Jo Alice after 17 ½ years apart.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Walter’s name to any of the above-mentioned philanthropic organizations.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Henry Brendecke, Jr., please visit our flower store.


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