Walter A. "Walt" Groesch
Walter A. Groesch, Ph.D, “all around nice guy and snappy dresser” died at 8:30 am, Saturday, June 16, 2012 surrounded by family and friends who loved him very much after a long battle with prostate cancer. He will be greatly missed by those whose lives he touched. He was born November 30, 1942 in Springfield, IL to Walter E. and Helen Peters Groesch. His parents and one brother John Groesch preceded him in death.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Lisa; his beloved children; one son, Scott (Kathy)Groesch of St. Louis, MO; one daughter, Erica Groesch of Springfield, IL. three grandchildren Alexander, Andrew and Anna; two brothers, George (Kathy) Groesch of Springfield, IL; Nick Groesch of Chambersburg, IL ; two sisters, Jean (Ernie) Pickett of Curran, IL ; Karen (Mick) Hudson of Decatur, IL.; eight nieces and nephews.
Walter graduated from Lanphier High School in 1960 and spent two years at Springfield Junior College in Illinois. He joined the US Air Force in September of 1962 and was honorably discharged in 1966. After the Air Force, he attended Illinois State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1969. He married Lillian R. “Lisa” Patronik at Sts. Peter and Paul Church on July 12, 1969. He became a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for the State Illinois. Two years later he joined the Springfield Police Department. During this career he advanced to the rank of detective, superintendent of the uniform division and deputy director of administrative services. During that time he earned a Master of Arts degree from Sangamon State University. He took an Administrative leave from the Police Department as a detective and served as a police consultant with the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission. Upon returning to the Springfield
Police Department he was appointed Administration Assistant to the Chief of
Police. He was later appointed Deputy Director of the Uniform Division and ultimately Deputy Chief of Administrative Services. In 1980 he took a position as an Adult Division trainer with the Illinois Department of Corrections. During that time he was actively involved and assisted in Lincoln Fest, Special Olympics and Air Rendezous. In 1984 he was promoted to the Superintendent of the Training Academy. In 1989, he earned his Ph.D. in Occupational Education from Southern Illinois University. In 1995 he was promoted to Assistant Warden of Programs at Taylorville Correctional Center. In 1997 he became Assistant Warden of Operations and in 1999 he was promoted to Warden.
Athletics were an important part of his life, winning many awards as a long distance runner, golfing, bowling and tennis. He additionally received awards in sharp shooting which he could commonly refer to himself as a “one shot” hunter. He enjoyed gardening, his horses and sparing with his grandchildren. His passion was the outdoors. He was a member of the American Legion, The Sister Cities Association of Springfield and the International Police Association.
Visitation: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Monday, June 18, 2012 at Staab Funeral Home with Prayers at 4:00 p.m.
Funeral Service: 10:30 am Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at St. Aloysius Church with Reverend Thomas Donovan officiating.
Burial will follow at Camp Butler National Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Sangamon County Interveterans Burial Detail. The family request Memorial contributions be made to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital or Special Olympics.
Leave a Condolence
I grew up in Springfield, IL and played baseball on numerous teams. Wally was an excellent umpire and always had a smile and some friendly words whenever I came to bat.
Cousin Butch, thanks for all the laughter and fun times. You were more my brother than cousin. Aunt Abe and I will never forget all the wonderful things about you.....especially your courage.
I have been blessed to have known Butch (AKA-Wally). We grew up together and I spent so much time the his parents house, we could have been brothers, Helen was my second mom. Butch had a great sense of humor and I could not be around him without having a good time. In the Good Book, it says "Keep away from your enemies; be on your guard with your friends. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. Thanks for the memories Your Filthy Rich FRIEND Ed
Butch was my older cousin who I thought was so cool, handsome and always looked up to. As a member of a really big extended family he "always" made me feel special !!!!
Wally had a saying I repeat frequenty: "It would drop an ordinary man". He was anything but ordinary. A guy that made us laugh and a good man that leaves many happy memories we will carry with us until we meet again. God Bless! Jack & Gail
His initials spelled "wag" and that was his identity on the old IBM "PROFS" system -- DOC9WAG. He lived up to this appellation, always witty, incisive and a joy to converse with. Any chance encounter with Wally was a conversational delight. There will never be another like him. Fond memories only, and forever.
Wally, you were one in a million! You always made people feel special and appreciated. My Dad always said you were a "go to guy" and he was definitely right. If you didn't have an answer right then you would always find it and get back to you. I'm so glad that I got to know you and work for you at the Academy. You will be missed by so many people! Hugs and prayers to Lisa and family.
Thank you Walter for being a part of my life. Although it was only a short time we knew each other, you and our conversations will never leave my heart. Walter made the biggest impact on me. Lisa my heart goes out to you and your family.
Our Best friend. We traveled the country, raised our children, had numerous dinners and attended Illini Football Games. Walt was bigger than life. All who knew him were blessed. Will never forget all of his "Wallyisms" He will continue to guide us from above. Goodbye King Cobra. All around nice guy and snappy dresser. We will watch over Lil and give her hugs. Save a place for us.
Words cannot express how great a guy Wally was. Helpful, insightful, professional, and fun. First knew Wally when he was at SPD and I was at SCSO. Our careers ran tandem at IDOC and eventually he was my Warden at Taylorville. Wally's passing will leave a void never to be filled. RIP my friend. Mike.
I will always remember Wally as my friend not only my boss. I worked for Wally for 8 years at the Academy. He allowed me to be free thinking in writing curriculum and encouraged my abilities as a trainer. He understood all of the various personalities the Training Academy and took us all in stride. A true gentleman, kind soul and grand human being. Wally you will be missed. Teresa Randazzo
Ann Kozeliski posted on 7/4/12
Wally always brought positive energy and fun into the room with him. He had integrity and the confidence of self to back it up....a knightly virtue, as well as being a snappy dresser!