The Lord in His wisdom and timing called our beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Waldemar “Wally” Otto Karnitz to his eternal home in Heaven on October 31, 2021. He was born on May 9, 1929, to Otto and Anna Karnitz in Belle Plaine, MN, and then he received the washing of regeneration through baptism.
Wally attended Trinity Lutheran School through the 8th grade in Belle Plaine, and he was confirmed in 1943. He then attended Dr. Martin Luther College - High School Dept. in New Ulm, MN, graduating in 1947, before moving to Watertown, WI to attend Northwestern Lutheran College in the pre-theological course, graduating in 1951 with a BA degree. Wally then attended the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary in Thiensville, WI, graduating on June 5, 1954. It was while he was in Watertown that he met the love of his life, Barbara Franz, who attended the same church, and they sang in the choir together. He admitted he was too chicken to ask her out (!), but Barbara took matters into her own hands when she invited Wally to a Sadie Hawkins Party on February 29, 1948, for their first date. Six years later they were married on June 6, 1954. Wally’s first divine call was to a Lutheran mission in Spokane, WA, so they headed west, and they settled in Washington State for the rest of their lives. Except for 2 years in East Wenatchee in the early 1960’s, they lived in Spokane, Nine Mile Falls, and Spokane Valley.
Wally and Barbara were blessed with 5 children. With a growing family, Wally supplemented his pastoral income first with a job at the Dept. of Social & Health Services and then with the Dept. of Corrections, with whom he eventually was employed full-time as an Adult Probation & Parole Officer, resigning from the ministry in 1961. He retired from the state in May 1988. Despite resigning from the full-time ministry, Wally still had a passion and love for the Word of God and for preaching. He and Barbara raised their children in the Christian faith. 3 John 1:4 – “I have no greater joy in my life to hear that my children walk in the Truth,” and over the next several decades, he preached as a substitute when needed at many of the Lutheran churches in Washington and Montana he was in fellowship with. These included Missoula, MT, and Lynnwood, Clarkston, Spokane, and Spokane Valley, WA. Wally & Barbara were active members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Spokane for 40 years, including the choir, before moving to Spokane Valley in 2003, joining Gethsemane Lutheran Church.
Due to several health issues and then a mild heart attack on October 21, 2021, Wally moved into an adult family care home, A Nurse’s Touch, where he received around the clock care. He also received care from Horizon Hospice. Though his time there was brief, our family is thankful to God for the love and care he received from both.
Wally is survived by his children, Paul (Erin) Karnitz, Teresa “Teri” Karnitz, David (Rhonda) Karnitz, Ann (Jerry) Lueck, and Patricia (Randy) Bischoff, 18 grandchildren (with 15 spouses), 35 great-grandchildren, 2 brother- and sisters-in-law, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Barbara, in January 2021, after 66 ½ years of marriage, 2 great-grandchildren, his parents, 2 brothers, and 1 sister-in-law.
Wally will be truly missed by all of us who loved him, but we are rejoicing that he is now in the glorious and eternal home of Heaven with his Savior, Jesus Christ, and Barbara. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
A family graveside service was held on November 6, 2021, at South Pines Cemetery in Spokane Valley, WA. Memorials can be made to Gethsemane Lutheran Church and School, 11315 E Broadway Ave, Spokane Valley WA 99206. To share memories of Wally and leave condolences for the family, visit Wally's Tribute Wall.
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