Visitation for Waldon Orion (Wally) Degner, of Palatine, 85, will be from 4:00p.m. until 7:00p.m. on Monday, February 14, 2022 at the Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home, 201 N. Northwest Hwy., Palatine. Visitation will continue at the Funeral Home on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 from 10:00 AM until the time of the Funeral Service at 11:00 AM. The Interment will follow at Union Cemetery, Palatine.
Wally was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on October 4, 1936, to Frank and Esther Degner. He grew up in a loving family with brothers Arden and Corvin and sister Irel. Upon graduating from Oshkosh High School, Wally served in the United States Marine Corps for two years. After his honorable discharge, he went to the University of Wisconsin and in 1957 at a dance at the Memorial Union; he met the love of his life, fellow student Janet Ruth Shepherd. They married in 1959 and remained devoted to one another for over 62 years.
In 1961, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Wally greatly enjoyed his time spent as a drummer in the UW marching band, and on Jan 1, 1960, he marched in the Rose Bowl Parade and performed at halftime.
Wally, Janet, and newborn Carl, moved to Palatine in 1961 as Wally began a 48 year career with the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury. The Degner household was soon complete when son, Curt and daughter, Amy joined the family.
Wally became very involved in Palatine volunteerism, beginning with the Jaycees and the Palatine Village Band. He was a founding member of the Buehler YMCA. In 1969, he was elected to the Palatine Park Board, and served as a commissioner for a record 36 years. There, he was instrumental in increasing the quantity and quality of Palatine’s recreational properties and facilities. Wally received the Palatine Outstanding Citizen Award, and the Illinois Association of Park Districts conferred upon him the highest honor possible, the Allan A. Weissberg Award. When he left the Park Board in 2006, Wally Degner Park was named for him.
Wally also served many capacities with St. Paul United Church of Christ and the Indian Guides and Princesses programs. He was very involved with American Legion Post 690, ultimately elected Commander in 2008. He also volunteered with the Illinois Railway Museum. In 2020, Wally and Janet were honored by the Palatine Chamber of Commerce with the Lifetime Community Service Award.
Wally greatly enjoyed his Model T cars, his boat, big band music, tandem bike, and referring to himself as a ‘curmudgeon’ or ‘The Old Scrooge’. Most cherished by him were his grandchildren, Camden, Frank, Rose, Isabella, Marlena, Kyle, Madeline and Fiona. Wally is also survived by his wife Janet, his brother Arden, daughter Amy (Tom) Kenna, sons Curt (Sheila) and Carl, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.