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Couple enjoyed serving others

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009, at 12:03 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009, at 9:37 a.m.

Earl and Ida Mae Wall dedicated their lives to helping others, according to their son, Ron.

Mr. Wall was a retired pastor who still continued to serve churches in need. Mrs. Wall was a mother of five, Mr. Wall's sidekick in church and a special-education teacher.

The Walls were traveling home from a church's 50th anniversary in Springfield, Mo., when they were involved in a car accident north of Joplin on Oct. 26. Mrs. Wall, 82, died at the scene. Mr. Wall, 87, died Sunday at Wesley Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash.

Mrs. Wall was born in Loveland, Colo., in 1927; Mr. Wall was born in 1922 in Nebraska. The two met while attending Bethany College in Lindsborg and married in 1950.

After graduating from seminary, Mr. Wall served congregations in Colton, Ore.; Lakewood, Colo.; and Hays. Although Mrs. Wall was not an ordained minister, the couple was thought of as a joint ministry by family and friends.

They moved to Wichita in 1981 with their five children. Mr. Wall was called to serve as Reformation Lutheran Church's interim pastor. After serving Reformation for seven years, he continued to work with other area congregations. Their current church family was Gloria Dei Lutheran.

The couple were involved with the Scandinavian Society. Both came from a strong Swedish background, and spent many years studying their heritage, traveling to Sweden on several occasions.

"There were lots of Swedish things around the house," Ron Wall said. "We had a big meal during Christmas. Everything was traditional Swedish food."

Julie Elmquist, one of their daughters, said she grew up hearing her dad speak Swedish regularly.

She also said traveling was a frequent activity for their family.

"We took a lot of car vacations," she said. "We were camping in a tent, or tin trailer, and traveled around to the national parks in western U.S."

After their children were grown, the Walls spent time traveling, stopping to visit old friends, and eventually ending up at one of their children's homes.

"Mom didn't mind a house full of kids," Elmquist said. "The idea was, 'the more the merrier.' She liked people and Dad liked visiting with people."

Ron Wall said he believes his parents will be remembered for what they did for others.

"They both had a strong sense of helping people and volunteering," he said.

Elmquist said the family has met several people around the country who were acquainted with her parents over the years.

"On behalf of all of the family, we were very touched by how many people have left messages of support and care and concern," Elmquist said. "(It has) really meant a lot to all of us."

A joint memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Reformation Lutheran Church, 7601 E. 13th St. A committal service will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday at Lakeview Funeral Home, 12100 E 13th St..

The couple is survived by their children Tim Wall of Little Rock, David Wall of Sartell, N.M., Ron Wall of Wichita, Julie Elmquist of Greeley, Colo., Carolee Williams of Jacksonville, Fla., and 10 grandchildren.

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