It wasn’t hitting four beach-heads in WWII, alcohol, Copenhagen or cancer that brought Swede down, but the old age of 95. Four months shy of his next birthday, George H. Walberg went home Christmas Eve, 2012.
Born April 18, 1917, to Esther and Henry Walberg in Mullen, Idaho, he was raised and schooled in Spokane, Wash., by Aunt Ebba and Stone Henry. Entered the Army and served in WWII. When he was discharged he began working for Walt Disney Studios as an artist, then moved to Coulee Dam, Wash., and married Zola Walling in 1949. They had two children Esther and George.
Swede was a painter for the United States Bureau of Reclamation, best known for his sign work and cartooning. Swede shared most all of his artwork with people he met along the way. He belonged to VFW, Masons, Eastern Star, Shriners, Eagles and Moose organizations. He was a member of the Coulee Dam Community Church Presbyterian and spent free time fishing the lakes and streams in the area.
Swede remarried in 1972 to Ruth Wheeler. They moved to Stanwood, Wash., in 2009, and shared a home with Ruthie and Don Boatright.
Preceding him in death were his parents Esther and Henry Walberg, aunt Ebba and uncle Stone Henry and brother William Walberg.
He is survived by his wife Ruth Walberg; daughter Esther Walberg DeRusha (Jay), son George A. Walberg; stepchildren: Lynne Wheeler (Ann), Linda Eskelin (Stacey), Tom Wheeler (Julie), Ruthie Boatright (Don), Betty Jo Happ (Jerry); grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held in Coulee Dam in the spring of 2013.
Donations may be given to the Eastern Star, Coulee Dam in memory of George “Swede” Walberg.