In Remembrance: John T. Walbridge Jr. ’48E Died on June 14 2017

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John T. Walbridge Jr., known as “Jack” to some of his classmates, died on June 14, 2017.

As a child he lived in Florida, Mexico, and Illinois, following his father’s work as a civil engineer. He was a football player in Lake Bluff, Illinois, High School, graduating in 1944. All his life he was proud of the action he and his teammates took to defend a black teammate who had been excluded from a local restaurant. 

On graduating from high school in 1944, he entered the Navy and spent a year and a half as part of the V-12 program at the University of Louisville, which trained professionals for a continuing war effort. When the war ended, he was part of the great tide of GI Bill men looking for spaces in the now-choked universities. Yale, he remembered at the last minute, had once offered him a football scholarship, which it cheerfully honored.

At Yale he studied business and met his wife, Mary Lou Walbridge, to whom he was married for 68 years. He spent over half a century running various lumber businesses in the bleak and beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, stubbornly refusing to work for anyone but himself but proud of the living he provided for his employees. 

He was a delegate to the 1964 Republican Convention supporting Michigan governor George Romney, but over the years he drifted to the left wing of the Democratic Party, proudly casting his last vote for Hillary Clinton.

For many years he was a member of the board overseeing the endowment of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper Michigan, where he devised the investment strategy that put the endowment on a sound financial basis.

He was a dedicated outdoorsman: a hunter who rarely shot anything, a fly fisherman with an elegant roll cast who seldom caught a trout, and a cross-country skier who won the county over-30 championship when he was in his 50s. In his last days he loved watching the birds at the feeders outside his nursing home window.

—Submitted by the family.

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