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Walter BjerreOctober 5, 1921 ~ November 23, 2017 (age 96)
Walter Bjerre, 96, passed away on November 23, 2017. He was born October 5, 1921 in Bronx, NY, where he was a resident until entering active naval service. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in January, 1940 and served in a weekly drilling status until his unit was called to active duty in May, 1941. He served aboard the USS Pollux until the ship was lost on the Newfoundland coast on February 16, 1942.
Walter began Lighter-Than-Air flight training as an Aviation Cadet in June 1942 and was designated a Naval Aviator and commissioned an Ensign USNR in March 1943.
He served with Airship Squadron ZP-14 in North Carolina and overseas in the Mediterranean Theatre. Upon return to the US, he was stationed at NAS Lakehurst, NJ until July 1947 when he was released from active duty.
While at Lakehurst, he was a navigator aboard the XM-1 airship in October and November 1946 when it set an in-flight endurance record of 170 hours.
Walter flew for a short time with Douglas Leigh Sky Advertising and worked as a civilian engineering draftsman at Lakehurst.
Recalled to active duty in December 1951, he was operations officer of Airship Squadron ZP-3 at Lakehurst.
Released from active duty in November 1954, he relocated to Akron to be employed at Goodyear Aerospace Corporation as a test pilot. He flew the airships being built for the Navy by Goodyear including the ZPG-3W, the largest, non-rigid airship. In June, 1959 he delivered the first 3W to the Navy at Lakehurst.
Walter continued his Naval Reserve service at NAS Akron as the Commanding Officer of Naval Reserve Airship Squadron ZP-651 until the station was de-commissioned. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1969 with the rank of Commander.
After the Navy phased out its Lighter-Than-Air program, he worked on a number of Navy programs in engineering and planning services. He retired from Goodyear in December 1982 after 28 years of service.
Walter was a longtime member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Akron and New Life Episcopal Church in Uniontown. He served as a lay reader, chalice bearer and usher in both churches. He was a member of the Naval Airship Association and the Military Officer’s Association.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents, Hother Nels Bjerre and Jennie Boshell Bjerre; and his sister, Josephine Ryan Flavin. He is survived by his beloved wife of 74 years, Edith; children, Carol Turner (Lee), Pamela Bjerre, Douglas Bjerre (Vera), Claudia Bjerre (Andrea), and Emily Beth Rich (Tim); 8 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Friends may call at Bacher Funeral Home 3326 Manchester Rd. on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 from 4 to 7 p.m. and on Thursday, November 30th from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., with a service beginning at 10:30 a.m., Father Phil Kunder officiating, followed by interment at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery at 12:30 p.m.
The family requests no flowers, but donations may be made to Hospice of Visiting Nurse, Akron General Foundation, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, 1 Akron General Ave., Akron, OH 44307-2432 or a charity of your choice, in memory of Walter.