Walter L. “Red” Rathmann, 90, of Eldridge, passed away on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at the Davenport Lutheran Home in Davenport.
A private memorial service will be held at Chambers Funeral Home in Eldridge. Inurnment will take place at a later date at Black Hills National Cemetery in South Dakota. Memorials may be made to the Disabled American Veterans.
Walter was born March 16, 1930, in Grand Mound, the ninth of 11 children to Frederick and Florence (Bunce) Rathmann. He joined the United States Navy in 1948 and served aboard the USS Leyte CV-32 for five years. Twenty years ago, he was excited to learn of yearly reunions of his shipmates that he would attend for the past 18 years until last year when his health prevented him from doing so. Walter was proud of his service in the Navy and would share stories with anyone who asked!!
Walter worked for the former Flame Gas Company in Bettendorf, installing stoves and furnaces and delivering propane. Many customers to whom he had delivered had remained his friends all of his life. He began his truck-driving career delivering bulk propane to the Bettendorf plant and then spent five years driving coast to coast for the Rowley Interstate Company of Dubuque. In 1986, he began driving for Adrian Carriers out of Milan, Ill. He retired in 2016, completing 30 years of service the day before his 86th birthday. He was proud to say he had logged over seven million miles during his career.
Walter married Emogene Welchman in 1953 and together they had eight children. In 1986, he was united in marriage to Chris Wattleworth in Rapids City, S.D.
Those left to honor his memory include his wife, Chris Wattleworth; his children, Tom (Elaine) Rathmann, James (Jackie) Rathmann, Cindy (John) D’Mochowski, Esther Brown, Kate (Rod) Hanson, Becky Weatherwax, Jenny Fellows and Deb Bettles; 23 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; six great-great grandchildren; and his sister, Beverly (Del) Wulf of Arizona.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Helen Pinter, Tilly Daniels and Rose Burzlaff; and his brothers, Frank, Donald, Fred, John, Emil and Wayne.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Walter’s obituary at www.McGinnis-Chambers.com.