Walter Johnson Zuberbuhler II
On the morning of March 10, 2016 Walter Johnson Zuberbuhler II passed away peacefully of natural causes at his apartment at the Fountains of La Cholla in Tucson, Arizona.
Walter was 97 years old. He was born January 12, 1919 in New Brighton, PA near Pittsburgh. He was the son of Gerda Johnson and Walter Zuberbuhler I.
Walter got a job as a youngster maintaining tennis courts and became an avid tennis player. While attending Geneva College in PA on a tennis scholarship, Walter became a top tennis player in Beaver County. He continued to play the game well for 57 more years. His love of tennis was equal to his love of flying. While at Geneva College, the government started a pilot training program to prepare for WWII which Walter eagerly joined.
Walter quickly excelled in the program and went on to be a flight instructor for Pan Am Airlines. During the war, Walter was delivering aircraft all over the US and Canada. After a promotion to the rank of Major, he was sent to Africa where he managed all flight operations at Karthoum airport. He flew many trans-Atlantic flights in B-24 and B-25 bombers. It is amazing that Walter was flying airplanes for six years, before he even received a driver’s license.
After WWII ended in 1946, Walter began working as a commercial airline pilot for a small airline based in Pittsburgh called Mohawk, which grew into Alleghany and later became USAir.
Walter enjoyed 28 years flying with the airlines, and after his retirement he still flew smaller Cessna’s with his son in the copilot seat. He logged over 50 years flying as a pilot and he always said his favorite plane was the DC-3. Walter married Dorothy Melber, a lovely airline stewardess, on Thanksgiving Day, 1946 and remained happily married until her death on May 2, 2008. Over the years they lived in Pittsburgh, Albuquerque and Tucson, AZ. They had four loving children, Nathalie (Lee) Osmun of Findlay OH, Nadine Brill of Dunnellon FL, and Norine Lischy of Prospect, PA and one son, Walter (Jack) Zuberbuhler III of San Francisco, CA. and they were blessed with seven grandchildren, Rick, Alex, Colin, Ian, Matthew, Natalia, Alec and four great-grandchildren, Kyle, Kayden, Dillon and the newest member, Grayson Walter born November 2015. Walter was an active and cheerful senior at the Fountains of La Cholla retirement community where he lived with Dorothy for nearly 15 years, up until she passed.
Walter enjoyed life there at the Fountains for over 20 years and made numerous friendships. They volunteered countless days to help raise money for the staff at the Fountains of La Cholla. A devoted husband, Walter stayed by Dorothy’s side nearly everyday for the last two years of her life.
Walter was a regular member of Tucson’s Northminster Presbyterian church, which runs a fantastic visitation program for the home-bound elders. He has always been a man of strong faith which greatly helped him throughout his exciting flying career and now, in heaven he is flying higher than ever before. He was a caring and humble man who will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Walter has touched our lives and many others. He was the wind beneath our wings. Arrangements by VISTOSO FUNERAL HOME.