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Walter J. Birkedahl
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Birth: Apr. 23, 1920
Denver County
Colorado, USA
Death: Sep. 26, 2008
Grand Junction
Mesa County
Colorado, USA

Walter J. Birkedahl
April 23, 1920 - September 26, 2008

Walter J. Birkedahl, age 88, died in Grand Junction, Colorado on September 26, 2008. He was born on April 23, 1920 in Denver. After graduation from South High in Denver he toured the Midwest and South with a dance band. As a glider pilot during World War II, he was part of the airborne forces for three invasions; D-Day, Holland, and Germany, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star medal. He attended the University of Denver, earning Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music. Known in Denver as an outstanding trumpet soloist, he was a member of the Denver Symphony Orchestra and taught music in the Denver public schools. He married Maurine Fitzgerald (Nonie), his wife of nearly 60 years, on June 16, 1949. They had three children; Walt, David, and Michelle. Moving to Thousand Oaks, California in 1961, he served as a founding faculty member at California Lutheran College, teaching instrumental music. He organized the college-sponsored community orchestra in Thousand Oaks. Subsequently, he taught in the Longmont public schools for two years. During that time he founded the Longmont Symphony Orchestra. Appointed to the faculty of Mesa College in 1967, he conducted the Mesa College Civic Symphony and taught brass, strings, music theory, and music appreciation. He was a trumpet player with the Grand Junction Symphony at its inception. For several years he hosted a classical music radio program on KREX. He was the founding conductor of the Valley Symphony in Delta, Colorado. Upon retirement he and Nonie moved to Salt Lake City for her work. He played trumpet in the Salt Lake City Symphony. He later played cello in the Logan Chamber Orchestra. Returning to Grand Junction, he played cello in the Grand Junction Symphony until he was 83. A dedicated teacher, he taught trumpet, cello, and violin to many students through the years, up to a few weeks before he died. Many of those students went on to become professional-level musicians and teachers. He was active in the work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as a choir director, member of bishoprics, and faithful home teacher. A loving father of three and grandfather of 12, he found great joy with his nine great grandchildren during his final years. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, October 2, 2008 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2542 G Road, Grand Junction, CO. A visitation time will take place from 10 -11:00 a.m. in the Church Relief Society room. Burial will take place at 1:00 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado. Funeral services are under the care and direction of Martin Mortuary.

Published in The Daily Sentinel on 9/30/2008
Family links: 
  Maurine Ruth Fitzgerald Birkedahl (1929 - 2014)*
*Calculated relationship
Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado
Grand Junction
Mesa County
Colorado, USA
Plot: 1D-F-40
Created by: Lady in Red
Record added: Feb 04, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33542596
Walter J. Birkedahl
Added by: Arlie"Bud"Jordan
Walter J. Birkedahl
Added by: Lady in Red
Walter J. Birkedahl
Cemetery Photo
Added by: AJ
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- Barb
 Added: Feb. 23, 2014
Thank you for your service. May you rest in peace.
- Barb
 Added: Feb. 23, 2014
South High School, Denver, CO; Class of 1938
- Red Heads Times Three
 Added: Apr. 22, 2011
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