Obituary: Walter R. Ullrich
Walter R. Ullrich passed away Jan. 28, 2012. He was born in Kupferberg, Germany on March 1, 1921, to Ernst and Elfriede Raupach.
Following the death of his father, he immigrated to America with his mother and stepfather, Richard.
He graduated from Okanogan High School in 1939, and then from Washington State University, majoring in dairy science. Just days before receiving his Army officer commission, his commanding officer called Walter into the office. “Walter, he said, we have two problems: First, you are not a U.S. citizen and second, you’re a German.” (America was at war with Germany.) Such formalities were less of an issue then and Walter quickly became a citizen, received his commission, and spent nearly four years serving bravely in the South Pacific Theater, participating in the initial assault wave at Lingayen and the bitter fight for Manila. He was with the forces that made the daring attack behind enemy lines to free our soldiers at Los Banos Prison Camp and served in New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Bougainville, Luzon and, later, mainland Japan.
Following his military service, he returned to Okanogan as owner and manager of the Okanogan Creamery Company, a family business of nearly 60 years, later Okanogan Meadowmoor Dairy. “My nightmares of the horrors of war were few,” he would say, “but many a night of sleep is cut short by the cold sweat from the worries of running a small manufacturing business with perishable products.”
Walter participated in many civic organizations, including community councilman and mayor, president of the chamber of commerce, member of the Association of Small Cities, state Dairy Council president, and Boy Scout pack, troop leader and council president.
His dairy product judging prowess at the Dairy Council conventions at WSU is legendary; he especially favored ice cream. He welcomed every opportunity to serve as the master of ceremony for any gathering. Following retirement, he served with the Okanogan County Board of Equalization and worked with Lake Osoyoos water quality and shoreline issues.
He was a devoted husband and father and always made time for family activities and entertaining at the weekend cabin at Omak Lake and later at Holiday Haus on Lake Osoyoos.
“One can never have too many boats,” he would say, and he dearly loved and shared them all.
He is survived by his brother, Ed; sons, Ken (Sabine), and Rick (Diane); and daughter, Jann Rappe (Randy); grandsons, Mark and Jay Ullrich and Robert Rappe, Marcus Woodall (Anita), and Andrew Woodall (Chi); and great-grandchildren, Madison and Sophia Woodall; nieces, Chris Ullrich and Heidi Ullrich-Oelke (Roger).
He was preceded in death by Doris, his loving wife of 60 years. For all friends and family, a celebration of the lives of Walter and Doris Ullrich will be planned for 3 p.m., June 23, 2012, at the Okanogan Community Cemetery.