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Blanche Joyce (McDonald) Walter - In Memoriam

Blanche Joyce McDonald Walter 1948

Blanche's Graduation Picture 1948


My Cousin Blanche Joyce (McDonald) Walter was born on 16 September 1930. Blanche is my first cousin and sister to my cousin Burley McDonald. Blanche is also my mother Ellen’s niece. Blanche’s mother is my aunt Nora....her father was William "Willy" McDonald.  Blanche was the youngest of the seven children.  She had 1 sister and 5 brothers. Blanche is approx. 2 years younger then I am...Blanche is and always was, one of my favorite cousins. 


The McDonald family initially lived on a farm in the Chetek, Wisconsin area of Barron County. I remember Blanche well from our many family visits to their farm...then again around the time Blanche graduated from high school in 1948 at Kelso, Washington…Blanche was revisiting her old home area and stopped by to visit with me for a few minutes in the little rural family country convenience store and gas station (Wayside) that I was working at in Arland, Wisconsin. This was  just shortly before I went into the Army in 1949 on the eve of the Korean War.

Blanche was a pretty girl with a bright smile and a friendly disposition…sort of the June type of personality…and a Christian lady. Blanche's  father had a primary occupation as a carpenter. This occupation had taken him to Longview, Washington during the WW II days, The McDonald family eventually moved to the Longview area where they made their final home. Blanches's father was too old for service in WWII but at least 3 of his son's served ...

Blanche later married a Kenneth Walter in May of 1949 and they also made their home in Longview, Washington. 

Blanche was a hard working lady who also drove school bus for the Longview, Washington schools. Blanche and her husband had 2 children (sons) from their marriage. Blanche had a very hard life...her husband Kenneth caused her a life of much strife, sorrow and sadness…the husband was convicted of sexual abuse of a grandchild and served time in prison…some of the nicest people seem to have some of the most difficult lives and times

Alzheimer’s ended Blanche's life on 9 July 2005. Yes, Blanche was yet another victim of Alzheimer's. She died in her home city of Longview, Washington.



My Last Visit with Blanche

I have some very nice remembrance of Blanche just a few years prior to her death…at the time I had a forensic trial in Kelso, WA in February of 1998. (The Month June was first diagnosed) Kelso was not far from Blanche’s home. I called Blanche and she made arrangements to meet me at my hotel the next morning before I had to fly back to Minneapolis. We had a very nice visit and a pleasant two hours together.

My last remembrance of Blanche were very pleasant ones...I was very touched by Blanche telling me "how thrilled she was to be able to spend this time visiting with me, her cousin!"

At the time of my visit with Blanche, June had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the month before. I do not know when Blanche was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It is possible that at the time of my visit with her that she had already been the early stages of the disease it is called mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's. Blanche's brother Burley mentioned to me, two years after my visit that Blanche was sick with Alzheimer's.


I could not help thinking of what a sweet lady she was and how she had lived a very hard life. Blanche apparently went fast to have died in 2005. Blanche died in the same year that June went into a nursing home for the remainder of her life.  June was then in the late stages of her Alzheimer’s…June died in 2008.

Blanche, like her entire family were Christians...Her brother Burley was a minister for several years at Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

Blanche, I would like to dedicate this song to is one of my favorites.. "Take my Hand Precious Lord"...I used to sing it to June daily during the last year of her was written by Thomas Dorsey who is said to be the one who coined the phrase "Gospel Music" This song has also been described as the "greatest of all Gospel songs"...Dorsey composed it at a time of deep personal sorrow...his wife and child had both just died in childbirth.  

Thomas Dorsey also died a victim of Alzheimer's ...this song "Take My Hand Precious Lord" was played at the funerals of Martin Luther King and President Lyndon was also played at June's funeral...I have requested it be played at mine... 


"Take My Hand Precious Lord"

"Precious LORD take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious LORD, lead me home

When my way grows drear precious LORD linger near
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand, lest I fall
Take my hand precious LORD, lead me home

When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand, precious LORD, lead me home

Precious LORD, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious LORD, lead me home."



Blanche, I have nothing but fond memories of you…I hope that you and June are now the best of heavenly friends…two very special farm gals with similar personalities…and similar life’s endings. 


Reader’s Comments

MarshaMarsha McKneely Ault Nacogdoches, Texas - (17 September 2016): "Sometimes I ponder what it will be like to be in Paradise with our precious Lord.

I hope the below verse puts a smile upon your heart.

Love, Marsha."



"Two Angels on High"


 Blanche and June looked upward

and grasped His hand

as He led them toward the light

to their eternal home on high.


I sit on earth below

my mind pondering what

these two angels 

may be doing in their realm.


I glimpse through infinity and feel

their goodness, their love,

their purity’s metamorphosis

spreading throughout their sphere—


Touching every being there . . .

I see a smile upon His face,

their precious Lord,

as He partakes of their devotion

and grace.



Laura Mijailovic   - Trenton, Wisconsin – (16 September 2014): ”What a beautiful life.”

Lori Dixon Patterson  - (16 September 2014): ”What a wonderful memoriam, Stan. Your cousin was truly an incredible lady.”

Shawn Powers Griggs  - Pittsburgh, Kansas – (16 September 2014): ”What a lovely photo and piece! Thank you for sharing.”

Amanda Patrick  - United Kingdom – (16 September 2014): “Beautiful looking lady.”

Debby Richardson  - Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom – (16 September 2014): “Beautiful lady.”.

Bonnie Seip  - Ottsville, Pennsylvania – (16 September 2014): ”Thanks for sharing another part of your life Mr Berg . Your cousin Blanche had to be a very special women to go through all she went through, I'm sure she and June are sharing all there personalities of life up in Heaven.. As they both shine down on you…2 bright beloved angels above looking down on you.!!! God Bless you.”

Elaine Lawson  - Wilmington, North Carolina – (16 September 2014): “Very pretty lady.”

Joyce Dunne  - Liverpool, United Kingdom – (16 September 2014): ”She was. Beautiful.”

Christine Stowe  - Malvern, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – (17 September 2014): “It's lovely to know the stories behind the person in the picture.”

Lyn Challoner  - Wrecsam, Wrexham, United Kingdom – (17 Septmeber 2014): ”A real beauty.”

Denise J. Maloney  - St. Helen’s, United Kingdom – (17 September 2014): “Beautiful lady.”

Susanna Nicholos  - Catskill, New York – (17 September 2014): “Gentle hugs.”

Rosemary Mather  - Carrickfergus, United Kingdom – (17September 2014): “Oh she is absolutely beautiful.”

Rose Elley  - San Diego, California – (17 September 2014): “I lived in Washington State and am very familiar with all the places you mentioned, Long Beach, LongView and Kelso. I enjoyed reading about your cousin. So sad and so ironic that after June was diagnosed you were sitting with her over a meal then she herself would be shortly later diagnosed. Am so sorry you have lost so many family members to this.”

Lauren Champkin  - London, United Kingdom – (17 September 2014): “A lovely photo & piece."

Cath Murray  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (19 September 2014): "She Was So Lovely. God. Bless. Her. God. Bless. You. To Stan."

Bonnie Phillips - Eugene, Oregon - (16 September 2015): "Nice story Stan. It did seem a little odd that she died so soon after she was diagnosed. I miss so many of close relations That have passed on. I have an older brother living in MD. My other brother went missing about 25 yrs ago and we have Never heard anymore about him since that time."

Donna Button - Midsomer Norton, United Kingdom - (16 September 2015): "Thank you Stanton a lovely read about Blanche and a little about June also," 

Catherine Jones-Hatcher- Richmond, Virginia - (16 September 2016): "How nice that you have such a pleasant memory of your last visit together. It sounds like you two shared a special bond. Your tribute to her on June's site was very nice, and I loved reading the lyrics to the song you dedicated to her, and plan to have played for your own services ( when that time comes... in the NOT too near future, I hope... I always try to follow your advice and go where your suggestions lead. I have always been pleased with the bits of info and humanity that I find. Have a good night, my friend! Maybe my dad has bumped into the birthday girl and June, and might be playing a song on his coronet for them..."

Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (17 September 2016): "I so enjoyed reading about your cousin Stan...she sounded like a sweet wonderful lady...your family has been devastated by this evil must have a lot of sorrow in your heart for June and all your close relatives who have fallen victim to Alzheimer's...I'm glad your comforted knowing they are no longer suffering and can remember some good times Blanche's visit...I've heard this song ...'Take my Hand Precious Lord' before and it's lovely ...stay well and God bless Stan."

Elisabeth Buckley  - Manchester, United Kingdom - (17 September 2016): "I read your cousin's life story. Not an easy life by any means. I loved the lyrics of the hymn quoted."

Anthea Cox-Norman - Richmond, New South Wales, Australia - (17 September 2016): "Thank you for sharing the post. Your cousin is a beautiful Lady. Remember that Blanche is always with you. And now we all get to know Blanche a bit as well." 



June's Passing

June 1994

After an almost 12 year journey into the shadows of Alzheimer's, early one morning in late October 2008, an exhausted June felt God's gentle touch on her shoulder and heard the words: "Come Home June!" As June lay like a wounded soldier on a battlefield, it was God's Angels that ushered June into a Heavenly Kingdom to the sound of a chorus of Angels...and into June's new home, a "Mansion on the Hilltop", where there is no pain, nor illness nor tears...June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website in the drop down menu under the "In Memoriam" label - just Click on:

"June K. (Rolstad) Berg - In Memoriam"