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 Walter Paul “Freiherr” von Marenholtz

Walter Paul “Freiherr” von Marenholtz

Birth
Viola, Stone County, Missouri, USA
Death 7 May 1976 (aged 78)
Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
Burial Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
Plot Elm Garden, Lot 16G, space 3
Memorial ID 32005779 · View Source
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Walter was the 7th child and fourth son of Carl von Marenholtz, a disinherited Prussian nobleman, and Caroline Spoetter, both of Dieckhorst, Germany. He was born August 2, 1897 in Viola, Missouri and met his wife, Lucy Ann Melton, there. They married in 1917 in Baxter, Missouri. Walter told his youngest son that he witnessed a gun battle on the main street of Viola. While still a young man, his cousin hired him to do some work in Idaho, where he and Lucy relocated. Their first three children, Mildred, Mary, and Walter Melton Marenholtz, were born while he was farming there in Idaho. He became a manager of a large sheep ranch owned by the Spillman Family. His son recalled that at one point Pop worked in Idaho as a powder monkey, a dangerous job of setting dynamite charges. 'Pop' also used to break wild horses.
At the age of 35, Walter was chosen over his older brothers to inherit a baroncy in Hannover Province, Germany. Official records show that his parents did not marry until after their sixth child was born; which is presumed to be the reason why Walter was chosen to return to Germany and inherit the title over his older brothers. Walter reclaimed the von portion of his name at this time, as did his brothers and sisters.
Walter and his lawyer (Gustave Groeger of Boise) left for Germany to handle all of the legal matters in late 1930. At the death of his uncle, Baron Emil von Marenholtz, he had acquired title to the estates of Dieckhorst (the primary estate), Flettmar, Gerstenbüttel, and Marenholtz. He also became Freiherr (Empire Baron] von Marenholtz. As he was still an American citizen, he was proclaimed Deutschvolk (German national) and was allowed to become Baron. Neither Walter nor his family spoke German at that time.
His aged spinster aunt, the Baroness Auguste von Marenholtz (Tante Guge] had just moved out of the 25 room estate at Dieckhorst when Walter brought his family over from Germany. A woman (Fräulein Dunker) was sent to live with the family for the first year to be a translator and help him adjust. His family had daily German lessons and spent years settling into German life. His daughter and eldest, Mildred, remembers that he was always nice and only swore when he drank too much. One day Pop was coming back from the beer garden and took a short cut home. He fell into a hole filled with water and he could not get out. His dog, Max, ran home and rang the doorbell. Lucy followed Max and helped Pop home.
Walter made many life-long friends, of which Karl Alt was his best friend with whom he entrusted the care of his estate in his absence. He and Lucy spoke broken German, according to daughter Lucy, who was born in Germany.
While Freiherr von Marenholtz, he held hunting parties on his estate and introduced his family into society. His youngest son recalls that in the 17 years that his dad lived in Germany, he only shot a wild boar once. Lots of deer and wild game were on the huge estate and Walter hunted often.
When his daughter Lucy was born in 1932, Walter registered her as an American citizen.
During WW2, he had to fight to keep his estates because he was still an American citizen. He was considered under house arrest and had to report to the local constable (one of his friends) on Monday mornings. The family had tried to leave Germany as the Nazis were taking power but had a tremendous problem with the American embassy. In 1941, when son Robert was born, Walter had him registered as an American citizen in spite of the political climate. Walter listed himself as a farmer on the birth certificate.
His eldest son, Walter Melton von Marenholtz, was ordered into duty in 1943 in spite of his American birth and status. His duty with the Panzers took him twice to the Russian Front. Daughter Mary retrieved her wounded brother in 1944 and brought him home to Dieckhorst to recuperate. Young Walter returned to duty and word was eventually received he had been killed near Bolstice, Czechoslovakia in 1945.
By 1946, some of Walter's farming land and equipment were returned. His estates were under the British occupational forces. One of the Canadian soldiers visited Walter and Lucy years later in Seattle, King County, Washington and called them Mom and Pop. Times were hard in Germany after the War as money was no good. Barter was the only way to get anything.
In 1947, daughter Mildred and children immigrated to the United States. She helped Lucy's sister, Flora Bray, sell Walter's farm in Idaho. From the proceeds, tickets on a ship were procured. The remaining family members came to America via Montreal, Canada on a small ship in 1948. They entered the United States through Detroit, Michigan. They traveled to Missouri to visit Marenholtz and Melton relatives and then drove up to Seattle.
They purchased a small home in Seattle and Walter worked for Seattle Light Company. His good friend Karl Alt continued running the estate. Walter sold about half of the estates in 1957; ten years later he sold the remaining estates except one small parcel that he gave his remaining son. Bob recalled that his father sometimes displayed a sense of humor where he would go on and on with his folksy sayings, like "only two liars in town and you're both of them!" and "Blind in one eye and can't see out of the other!" When Bob was 15 and in Europe with his dad, he recalled that Pop called the old Swiss 100 Franc notes 'saddle blankets' because they had to be folded in half to fit into his wallet. They were in Switzerland from July through November 1967 where Pop was negotiating the sale of his estate. He rented a four-story house for six months there to be near his daughter Mary and her husband, Gus Voetelink.
After selling his estate, he and Lucy bought Lake Sammamish property in Seattle where they had their two summer homes. Many family members and friends were entertained at Lake Sammamish. Pop had a tennis court put in. Home movies show family and friends swimming and waterskiing at the lake.
A very giving man, Pop provided for his children and grandchildren during his lifetime. He died on May 7, 1976 in Seattle, Washington from heart problems and is buried in Acacia Memorial Park next to Lucy.
(copyright 2011 by Margie von Marenholtz)



  • Created by: Margie von Marenholtz
  • Added: 6 Dec 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32005779
  • Margie von Marenholtz
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Walter Paul “Freiherr” von Marenholtz (2 Aug 1897–7 May 1976), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32005779, citing Acacia Memorial Park and Funeral Home, Seattle, King County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Margie von Marenholtz (contributor 47028174) .