Leo Joseph Walz
Leo Joseph Walz passed away on September 21, 2019 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Leo will be greatly missed by his loving and devoted wife, Jane; his daughter Kate (Derek) Mattsson; his son Joe (Beth) Walz and his grandchildren Emily, Elliott and Dominic Mattsson along with Joey, Tommy, Johnny and Anthony Walz. Leo is also survived by his sister Bernadette (John) Benvegnu. He was preceded in death by wife Sue and his brothers Mike and Clete.
Leo was born on December 7, 1937, the day that would become Pearl Harbor Day four years later. Leo was the third born in a family of four. His father Clete and mother Alma came from different back grounds but met in Salt Lake while working for the Union Pacific railroad. Clete was born and raised in Defiance, Ohio in a strong German Catholic family, boasting two priests among the siblings. Alma was also born into a large German Catholic family who followed opportunity west from Cincinnati to homestead in Oklahoma then moving again and settling in Inkom, Idaho. Leo's life was molded by strong influences from his parents. He loved both dearly. Leo remained a strong Catholic until his death and was very loyal to his family both immediate and extended. The frontier spirit he learned from his mom was ingrained in Leo at an early age. Leo liked to argue, compete and drink gin but he never missed Sunday mass or any school event of his children.
Judge Memorial served as a school and a community for the Leo and his family in the 1930s through the day of his passing. Leo attended first through twelfth grade at Judge back when the original miner's hospital building served as the school. Many on the Salt Lake Catholic families during that time lived near Judge and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. The Walz family home was on 1200 east just south of 800 south. The family could walk to school and mass. Leo was the student body president of Judge, class of 1956 and the self proclaimed, "non playing captain" of the bulldog basketball team. Leo loved to share stories about the old Judge days with his children, grand children, nieces and nephews. His favorite stories involved the fisticuffs when Judge ventured into rural Utah in the 1950s for sporting events.
Leo attended University of Utah and graduated with a BA in Economics in 1960. He worked unloading freight cars to help pay for his college, developing a respect for hard work. Leo hung out at the Neumann Center at University of Utah and developed more lifelong friendships there.
After college Leo started a successful sales career with Maxwell House Coffee. His career spanned four decades and several mergers and acquisitions by General Foods, Kraft and Phillip Morris. Leo was known for challenging the status quo. Leo was fortunate to retire early at the age of 55.
After college Leo met a strong, loving woman who would change his life, Susan Jane Evans. She was also a University of Utah graduate and Salt Lake native. After a short engagement they were married in August of 1965. They had a wonderful marriage of 39 years and raised two children, Kate and Joe. Sue passed away from cancer in November of 2004. The next several years were the most unhappy in Leo's life, he was heart broken. Then one day while visiting his cousins in Florida, Leo met another strong, loving woman who would again change his life, Jane Holden. Jane and Leo were married in June, 2010 and spent a wonderful decade together. They both loved to golf and would split their year between Florida and Utah. As Leo's parkinson's developed, Jane was at his side 24/7. Jane's love, patience and strength were unbelievable and gave Leo so much comfort and peace as he battled his illness.
A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, September 26 from 6:00 until 8:00 PM at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. Guests are encouraged to use the complimentary valet parking provided on the north side of the building. Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 2315 East Redondo Avenue. Urn committal to follow at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 4th Ave. & "T" Street.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the tuition fund at Judge Memorial Catholic High School in the name of his brother, Michael Walz by clicking the link above.