HANGING ART – Raven Shaw hangs up art at her booth for the Sitka Artisans Market this afternoon at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Her business, Raven's Random, sells original art stickers and prints. The market opens tonight and runs through Sunday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Walter A. Dangel Dies; WW II Veteran was 98

Walter A. Dangel

Walter Alexis Dangel, a World War II veteran and a Sitka resident for 74 years, died at home Thursday, Nov. 21. He was 98.
Private graveside services will be held today at Sitka National Cemetery, and a Mass will be at 12:05 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church. Father Dwight Hoeberecht and Deacon Ron Mathews will officiate. (The family will be available to visit afterward.)
Walt was born June 3, 1921, in Stockton, California, the son of Josephine Versic and Robert A. Dangel, both of whom were born in Ohio to immigrant parents.
While attending Commerce High School in San Francisco, Walt joined the National Guard, and transferred into the U.S. Army before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He spent the next four years serving in Alaska and Europe during World War II.
It was during a short stay in Sitka on his way to serve in Kodiak that he met his lifelong partner, Margaret Claire. Three years later they reunited and married in Kodiak, days before he was transferred to the lower 48, and eventually to Europe.
After his discharge as a corporal, Walt returned to Sitka and his wife and newborn child. Walt and Marge raised six children in a log cabin on Cannon Island – at that time only a short row from town.
Always a busy man, Walt was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus, the Elks Lodge, and an original member of the Sitka Amateur Radio Club. When the Sitka Ham Amateur Radio Klub (SHARK) formed here in recent years, he was made an honorary member.
Walt was proud of the fact that in his entire working career he was never unemployed. In Sitka he worked at the family business, Sitka Photo Shop Studio, as a photo finisher; and also was a longshoreman, scuba diver, assistant fire chief at Sitka Fire Department, and the Civil Defense director.
For some 20 years he was chief operator at the city hydro plant.
Walt was blessed with good humor and a great memory, enhancing a plethora of stories which he was always willing to share. As a longtime Sitkan and veteran, he knew a lot about Sitka’s history, including the war years, and  could show visitors around the military installations on the Causeway off Japonski.
He had many hobbies and pasttimes, including hunting, model railroading, taking family trips to Glacier Bay and circumnavigating Baranof and Chichigof Islands in the 26-foot converted gill netter Polaris. In later years, he and Marge took many trips around Alaska and the lower 48 in their motor home.
Walt was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret.
He is survived by children Katherine Dangel, Del Norte, Colorado; James Dangel of Sitka; Richard Dangel (Consorcia), now motorhoming in Florida; Ruth Culp (Vern) of Sitka; Patricia Dangel of Granite Falls, Washington; and Christine Dangel, of Davenport, Florida.
He also is survived by 12 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
The family expressed thanks to their dad’s private care givers, and the Home Health Departments of both Sitka hospitals.

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