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In Loving Memory of John A. Wallus
It is impossible to encapsulate the enormity, influence and spirit of a person like John Alphonse Wallus. Dad... Hero, Bubba, Dear, Wally, Snakejaw, Big John, Papa, Grandpa, Musky and, when signing cards to his loving wife, Christine...’Your John’. The list of names by which he was known stands as a testament to the fact that he was so many things to so many people.
Most of those nicknames suggest a substantial, macho figure...a guy’s guy. And he WAS! Larger than life for all of us kids, we bragged often to friends that our Dad was a police officer. We bragged that he was “going to Montana to hunt” ...that he had tryouts for the major leagues and hit a home run out of County Stadium. For a long time, he was the only Wallus to catch “the fish of 1,000 casts”. In fact, right up to his final days, feats of physical strength and bravery were simply the norm for John. He was as strong as they come and it was with that strength that he inspired so many of us to be the greatest versions of ourselves.
He was also tender and gentle; strong in heart and light in spirit. These were perhaps his BIGGEST strengths. We felt it in how he lifted us up when we were little...how he held us tightly in his arms...how he picked us up and brushed us off when we had been knocked down and were at our worst. His was an endless well of love and he gave from it without thought, judgement or question. It was almost as if he knew that he was drawing from a bottomless supply. Regardless of fault, time, place or frequency of need...he was there in a heartbeat. He was forgiving. He accepted people as they were. Together John and his wife, Christine, poured their hearts into four beautiful children, four amazing grandchildren, several pets, extended family and a rich tapestry of friends! He loved the people who his children loved, his neighborhood...and the schools that his children and grandchildren attended. He was compelled to indulge in the things he was personally passionate about. John drove and often motored through the night, brushing his teeth with a dry toothbrush to keep himself awake for long enough to get himself to the places that brought him peace. This wonderful balance of loving commitment to others while also loving himself gave John 81 amazing years. The love he gave truly did sustain him and he died grateful for and aware of the love so many shared with him in return.
John Wallus was just what everyone needed. He was a teacher when he knew he could be one and a simple place to rest before a gentle piece of advice when he knew he couldn’t. He was a joke when things got tense. “My Rock”, “A Port in the Storm”, “My Strength”, “A Shoulder to Cry On” ...John was a person you could rely on. He was predictable and stable ...but he was never the same. He tailored his approach to people because he understood the power in listening to and truly knowing someone. Nobody understood us like him. He was a devoted husband who gave Christine strength, while making her feel special and beautiful everyday of their 57-year marriage. He gave his children loving support and stabilizing guidance as well as license to pursue individual happiness and faith to see us through the tough times. His wife says they were “gifted to each other 60 years ago” but he was gifted to us all again and again.
We will miss him dearly but can do so knowing how satisfied he was with how he lived his life. He was proud of his family, proud of being a police officer, proud of how skilled he had become in the things that he was passionate about. His last words were filled with gratitude, happiness and love: “I’ve had a wonderful life, Dear”. We will miss all the laughs and smiles and trips and adventures that we can no longer enjoy with him, but we cherish the memory of all the ones that we were fortunate to share. We will miss the safety and gentleness of his guidance, but he is with us in spirit, urging us forward with all that he has already shown us. We will miss the little things he did every day to make us feel thought of and special, but the lengths and depths we’ve seen him go to for us have confirmed our own worth for years. It’s true to say that his loved ones are still taken aback by how quickly it all happened but the reality is that he was staring down one final exhausting fight... and anyone who knew him would tell you that he would’ve put himself through hell...for us. That is certainly no place for a man like John Wallus and so God called him on to a better one. We love you John, Dad, Dear, Grandpa, Papa...Friend. Your call home to Heaven and eternal rest is well-deserved.
A Memorial Mass will be held Monday, December 11, 2023 at Lumen Christi Catholic Church 2750 West Mequon Road, Mequon at 11:00 AM.