Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Henry Clyde Walp June 27, 1916 - Aug. 30, 2015 Brought Humor, Adventure to Varied Life

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Henry Clyde Walp June 27, 1916 - Aug. 30, 2015 Brought Humor, Adventure to Varied Life

Article excerpt

Henry Clyde Walp told a story about his cross-country bicycling trip that showed his sense of adventure and sense of humor.

One of his favorite memories from that 1939 summer journey from Pittsburgh to California was his arrest for loitering in Willis, Calif., his daughter Shevonne Travers said. "He said that the food he had in jail was the best meal of the trip," she recalled.

Mr. Walp, a U.S. Army soldier, civilian Navy electrician, bank clerk, salesman, repairman, accountant, tax auditor and newspaper carrier, died Sunday at South Point Personal Care Home in New Castle. He was 99.

"He was a colorful character," his son-in-law Patrick Travers said. Mr. Walp's mother died when he was very young, and he was raised mostly by his older sisters and an aunt. Then he and his wife had three daughters.

The experiences he gained living around all those women enabled him to be a good mentor to all his sons-in-law, Mrs. Travers said.

In an oral history interview he gave to his daughters, Mr. Walp passed on the story of how he was born on the kitchen table at the family home in Wilkinsburg. He was the youngest in a family of eight children born to Rebecca Steele Elder and Ford Martin Walp.

His education included time at Northfield Mt. Hermon preparatory school in Massachusetts and at the then-new Connelley Trade School in Pittsburgh's Hill District. At age 16 - during the depths of the Great Depression - he enlisted in the Army. He often told his daughters that he had two choices of where he might serve: Panama or Hawaii.

"He was standing in the Panama line, thinking it was the best choice - because he could walk home if necessary - until his buddies convinced him Hawaii was the better choice," according to the oral history. He served four years in Hawaii, living at the Schofield Barracks on Oahu.

Returning to Pittsburgh at the end of his tour of duty, he worked odd jobs for several years. After making a practice bicycle trip to Canada, he decided in the summer of 1939 to ride to California. …

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