Walter was born in Bowesmont, North Dakota, on November 13, 1931 to George and Margaret (Cameron) Gjersvold, the seventh of 11 children. He graduated from Grafton High School in 1949 and was voted Top Athlete of his graduating class, competing on the football, hockey, and basketball teams. He attended the University of North Dakota on a hockey scholarship and joined the US Air Force in 1952. In 1955, he married Phyllis M. Brateng. Together they traveled the world as Walter was stationed around the US and abroad in France and England. Walter served in the Vietnam War 1969-70. He was a B52 bomber navigator and C130 Pilot for Strategic Air Command (SAC), and served as Chief of Safety on many bases where he was stationed over his decorated career. After proudly serving our country for 20 years, Walter retired from the USAF as a Major in 1972 and the family settled in Dallas, Oregon. He used his GI loan and attended Oregon College of Education (now WOU) and received a Bachelor’s in History and Master’s in Education. Walter was elected and served as a Polk County Commissioner, 1974-1978. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and volunteered at the Rickreall Christmas Pageant for many years. Walter was an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved spending time with his family and in his garden, growing flowers, fruits and vegetables. Walter often volunteered to work driving the combine and helping to harvest the crops for Zeigler Farm. All who knew Walter enjoyed his jolly laugh and friendly spirit. He was the jokester of the family and everyone loved spending time with him.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Phyllis Gjersvold, their three children, Darby (Monte) Gingery of Potomac, MD, Kyle (Kristi) Gjersvold of Washington, D.C., and Kari (Mike) McCaw of Dallas. He was also a beloved grandfather, leaving behind six grandchildren: Gunnar, Grayson and Greer Gingery; Rowan and Kieran Gjersvold; and Mia McCaw.
Walter is preceded in death by his parents, and his siblings: Harvey, George Jr. (Junie), Mary (Muggie), James (Booge), Norman (Sammy), Merle, Betty (Dolly), Dorothy, Tippy, and Cyril (Buddy).
Walter will be buried at Willamette National Cemetery. Due to COVID-19 restrictions at this time, a memorial service and celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to the American Heart Association or Wounded Warriors in Walter’s name. The Dallas Mortuary Tribute Center is caring for the family. www.dallastribute.com