Walter Gresens

Walter F. Gresens

Thursday, September 9th, 1937 - Saturday, May 30th, 2020
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Walter F. Gresens, 82, of St. Joseph, went to his heavenly home on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel. A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Lutheran Hour Ministries, or Trinity Lutheran Church – St. Joseph, Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at

Walter was born on September 9, 1937, in Chicago, IL, to Walter O. & Margaret (Wascher) Gresens. He graduated from Luther High School North in 1955 and continued his education by attending Concordia University and earning a bachelor's degree in music. Walter began working at Emmaus Lutheran Church in their music department, which is where he met the love of his life, Karen Stilb. The two were married on August 19, 1961, in Milwaukee, WI. Walter had a passion for music, he was a Minister of Music in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod for over 50 years, until he retired in 2012. In addition to being an organist, he was also a school teacher, choir, and band director.

In his earlier years, Walter, Karen, and their three children would spend a few weeks every year camping in either Wisconsin or Northern Michigan. Walter enjoyed trains, making electronic music with his Apple computer, and was notorious for telling terrible jokes. Walter was an incredible man with a wonderful heart. He was a true man of faith who always enjoyed sharing Christ, his Savior, with others and will be missed dearly by all who knew him.

Walter is survived by his loving wife of nearly 59 years, Karen; children, Richard (Lisa) Gresens of St. Joseph, Susan Gresens of Interlochen, MI and Matthew Gresens of Austin, TX; grandchildren, Jennifer and Mark Gresens and Sarah Cournoyer; and great-grandchild, Charlie Thompson.

Walter was preceded in death by his parents, Walter & Margaret and sister, Wilma Hecht.
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Cathy Leach

Posted at 10:22pm
I am so sorry to hear of his passing. I had him as a music teacher at Trinity Lutheran, St. Joseph, MI and have fond memories of him. When he played the organ for church it was evident that he was playing for the glory of God. Many times my family and I would stay after service was dismissed just to hear him play the entire postlude. An amazing, talented man that I am so grateful to have been part of my early education years. Prayers for his family.
Cathy (Wassilak) Leach

Sheryl Paloucek

Posted at 10:23am
What special memories come to mind when I think of Walt and your family. Walt was my teacher, choir director, special family friend. One of my most cherished memories will always be that he was willing to travel back to St Joe to play organ for my wedding. Even though it wasn't the beautiful piper organ I had dreamed of, he still "blew the dust out" of an old electric organ as only he could do. All of you will always hold a very dear place in my heart. May you feel the love of family, friends, and Jesus. We look forward to being able to see you in person.

Kurt Schmidt

Posted at 05:25pm
I mourn with you at the loss of Walter Gresens. I came to know him during my senior year in college. I was a student teacher from Concordia, Nebraska when Walt was my cooperating teacher with 6th Graders and Music classes at St. John, Rochester in the winter of 1982-1983. He allowed me to take a leadership role in that classroom and I have fond memories of his guidance. But, what I remember most was his sense of humor and the way he could neutralize a faculty meeting that may have gotten a little testy. I have used some of the same methods in the 35 years of my ministry. I will always remember the impeccable musical gifts that he shared each Sunday and the opportunity I had to play trumpet on hymns and postludes with him during worship that allowed the congregation to worship our Savior with joy!

Dean Kratz

Posted at 04:16pm
My deepest sympathy at your loss, dear friends. I have some tremendous memories of our projects and activities at St. John, Rochester. I could always count on Walt to brighten my day when I arrived at St. John. God's richest blessings as we entrust Walt to the heavenly home where he continues singing praise to the living Savior.
Dean Kratz
Lutheran High North

Phil Gresens

Posted at 04:46pm
My dad Ron and Walt were cousins and both attended Concordia Chicago and were there together for two years. Dad said one time all of the organ benches were missing (14 in all). They couldn’t find them and when the opened the curtain for the morning chapel service that were stacked up like a pyramid. Dad said it was one of Walt’s practical jokes. I’m glad they are now together in heaven singing praises to God!

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