Walt Grisham

Walter Grisham

December 1, 1921 - June 24, 2015
Walt Grisham taught Vocational Agriculture and was the FFA (Future Farmers of America) advisor and teacher at Pasco High School from 1954 until his retirement in 1977. The primary aim of this organization was to develop agricultural leadership, cooperation and citizenship. Their motto was:
"Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve"
Walt loved teaching and this was a motto he believed in and tried to instill in all his students. Walt truly lived this motto in his own life.
Walter was born in Yakima on December 1, 1921. He was the seventh in a family of 5 boys and 4 girls. When he was 10 years old, the family moved to White Bluffs, Washington and began farming. He graduated from White Bluffs High School Class of 1941. His plans of attending college were postponed when WWII broke out and he was drafted into the Army Air Corp in 1942. While in the service, he met Eileen, a "Nebraska Cornhusker". They dated almost entirely through written letters to each other, while he was stationed overseas in England attached to the 343rd fighter squadron. Walt was an engine mechanic and crew chief on the P-38 Lightning and later the P-51 Mustang which flew escort for the slower bombers. While still serving overseas he did not know that the farming communities of White Bluffs and Hanford were confiscated by the US Government as part of the Manhattan Project in 1943. His parents were given no money and were given 28 days to move. The home he had planned to return to no longer existed. It wasn't until 25 years later in 1968 when DOE reopened "the restricted area" that Walt was finally allowed to "go home". Walt fought tirelessly for 6 years, as president of the White Bluffs/Hanford Heritage Association, to place a memorial for the residents, veterans and the Wanapum Indians at the former town sites. That dream sadly never came true. 
After returning from the war, Walt married his sweetheart, Eileen. In the fall of 1946, he enrolled at the University of Idaho in Moscow to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education, becoming the first one in his family to attend college. Upon graduation, he taught in Shoshone, ID and Prospect Valley, CO where he completed his Master's Degree in Ag-Ed. He finally returned home to Washington and accepted an offer to teach at Pasco High. While teaching, Walt designed and built with the help of his FFA boys "McDonalds Barn" at the Benton/Franklin County Fairgrounds and the greenhouse at PHS. His month of summer vacation was always spent traveling to "Cornhusker Country" with the family, camping all the way! Walt retired after 24 years of teaching at the age of 56.
His wife, Eileen "Butch" passed away just two years short of celebrating their 50th Anniversary. Walt continued to live at the house they bought together in Pasco. His early retirement offered him to do the things that he loved the most, like volunteering at his church camp, N-Sid-Sin on Lake Coeur d'Alene; building models, constructing saw horses for house warming gifts, and anything else friends or family needed, in his beloved garage shop. His longtime passion for flying brought him to an airplane hangar at the old Pasco Airport where he became the biggest cheerleader in the building of the Viper Jet. A life highlight was flying 2nd seat in the Viper Jet at age 80.
In 2010, he moved to western Washington to be closer to his son and daughter and grandchildren. He lived at University House in Issaquah where he made new friends, spent time with old friends (like Don Skelton, a White Bluffs friend for 83 years) and his family. Many friends and former students continued to keep in touch with him. 
Walt was a gentle good man; of integrity, warmth and a true friend to everyone. At "sunrise" on June 24, 2015, Walt was reunited with his sweetheart Eileen.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, August 1st at 2:00pm at Shalom United Church of Christ, 505 McMurray Street, Richland, WA 99354. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Walt Grisham Memorial Fund at Shalom UCC for supporting "kid's camp activities".

Walt was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, teacher and friend. Love to all who loved Walt from Roger and April (Son & Daughter-in-law), Bev (Daughter), grandchildren; Heath, David, Pualani and Mosi, Haven and Tricia and great grandchildren; Kiana, Ikaika, Cora and Kaiyanna.