Senior Master Sergeant (SMSGT) Robert J. Walent, 89, of Cleveland, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 23, 2019.
As a 40-year veteran of the United States Armed Forces, he was proud to serve his country in World War II. He served in the Merchant Marines, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and the Ohio Air National Guard's 160th Air Refueling Wing and the 200th Red Horse Squadron, and was a lifelong member of the ONGEA, and the EANGUS. He was highly esteemed by his military peers and leaders, his friends and family, and was recognized as a leader wherever he went.
He was honored to be chosen to participate in the 2014 Honor Flight Program for military veterans, and was elated to fly in the open-cockpit Stearman aircraft, and at the age of 84, nimbly climbed up into the airplane.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy (Whitehouse); five children: Sheryl (Robert) Clark of Brecksville, Ohio, Wayne (Anne) Walent of Yreka, Calif., Debbie (John) Hickman of Barberton, Ohio, Donald Walent and Karen McKown of Delaware, Ohio; six stepchildren: Alan Barnett of Parkersburg, W.Va., Teresa and Todd Randolph of Barberton, Ohio, Donna (Garth) Swanda of Clover, S.C., Denise Griffith of Clover, S.C., and Kimberly (David) Arsenault of Cleveland; 28 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild, Oliver; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Paul (1959) and Emma (Grindle) Walent; his late wife, Margaret Flesher; his daughter, Janet Brogen; his granddaughter, Amy Hedges; and all of his siblings: Pauline (Stan) Zindel, Albert “Jim” (Lydia) Walent, Paul Walent, Luther Walent, Arlene Whitney, William (Ethel) Walent, Betty (Frank) Catalano, and Lenora Hodge.
He had a strong passion for aviation, was an avid fisherman, a talented gardener, and had a great love for his country. He enjoyed canning and cooking and his fried perch, famous baked beans, and yeast rolls were a treat at gatherings.
When his wife (Nancy) was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, he organized a team each year to raise money and participate in the annual fundraising event, the MS Walk-a-Thon.
Outside of his 40 years in the military, he worked in the transportation industry, driving for Duff Truck Lines before retiring, then spent many of his early retirement years relaxing and fishing on his boat in Lake Erie.
A Celebration of Life service in honor of Robert will be held in the Chapel at Legacy Village of Cleveland, second floor (elevator is available) on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 3 p.m. The Rev. Robert Seaton, his pastor from the First Lutheran Church of Cleveland, will officiate.
His family will receive visitors in the same location prior to the service, from 2 to 3 p.m. A meal after the service is graciously being provided by the First Lutheran Church of Cleveland.
Affected by MS through his wife (Nancy), Robert asked that donations be made in his memory to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, (search Robert J. Walent) or via mail at National MS Society, http://main.nationalmsociety.org/goto/robertwalent, or via mail at P.O. Box 4527 New York, NY 10163.
The family would especially like to thank the third floor-south medical staff and employees at Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga, along with the staff at Avalon Hospice of Cleveland and Legacy Village of Cleveland, for their diligence, care, compassion, and kindness towards Robert, his wife, Nancy, and his family.
The Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services, North Ocoee Chapel, has charge of the arrangements.
You may share your condolences and your memories with the Walent family at www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com.
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