Official Obituary of

Walter Gene Middleton

October 27, 1934 ~ March 2, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Walter Middleton Obituary

Walter Gene Middleton, a resident of Lewis County, Washington since 1945 passed away at home in the early hours of March 2, 2024, after a brief illness.  Walt was surrounded by ‘Walter’s Women’-- wife, Milda, sister-in-law, Bev, and beloved niece, Lisa, who all cared for him in his last days.

Walt was born October 27,1934, in Evarts, Kentucky to Betty (Turner) Middleton and Bryan Middleton.  He moved to the Riffe area with his mom, brother Ernie, sister Cora and stepfather, Dave Creech, at the age of ten.  He loved hunting, fishing, and the lifelong friendships from the Riffe community prior to its flooding to build the Mossyrock Dam.  As a young man, he was interested in the old-timers’ stories, and spent many hours soaking in the rich history of the Riffe community.

At Mossyrock High School he enjoyed football and history.  After graduating, he briefly worked in an Oregon mill, then returned to the Riffe area to enlist in the Navy for four years (1954-1958) along with his brother, Ernie.  He traveled the world, then had many hitchhiking adventures while stationed on the east coast.   Nursing his eternal love of sweets, he was introduced to baked Alaska in Hong Kong and cheesecake in New York…alas, he requested strawberry shortcake in pre-Castro Cuba but was told they only had goat meat and beans.

Walt was an incessant reader since childhood and as a young man taught two adult men to read.  From a very early age, Walt felt an unusual sense of responsibility to provide for his family.  This continued throughout his life.

After his time in the Navy, he recognized the financial benefits of working in Alaska and he joined other Riffe friends to work for Ketchikan Pulp at Thorne Bay.

As the family was forced to sell their idyllic property to Tacoma City Light, Walt returned from Alaska, moved to Mossyrock, joined the Laborers Union in 1966 and worked on major construction projects in western Washington, including the Mossyrock Dam.  He then worked for Lakeside Industries for 17 years and returned to construction prior to retirement.  He was a scoutmaster and a Mason in the 60’s, and was later active in his church.

He and Milda moved to their Silver Creek property after their marriage in 1968, where they welcomed son, Kevin, raised cows and pigs, and planted trees. The family enjoyed several trips from coast to coast, many area hikes, and treasured frequent visits from the LaPorte family to Mossyrock and return trips to visit the family in Kemmerer, Wyoming.  He and Milda also participated in over 20 12K Bloomsday road races in Spokane with sister Bev.  Walt routinely jogged and walked into his 80’s.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 56 years, Milda (Zierler) of Silver Creek, son Kevin of Eugene, Oregon, sister Cora LaPorte of Kemmerer, and sister-in-law Bev Osborne (Roger) of Spokane, and many nieces and nephews who loved their Uncle Walt.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Ernie, his wife, Joyce, brother-in-law Richard LaPorte, and many of his valued Riffe friends.

Thank you to the entire staff at Arbor Health Mossyrock Clinic, Arbor Health Morton Hospital, and Assured Hospice who made his return home for his final days possible.  You are all the BEST.



Funeral Service will be held at the Mossyrock Assembly of God at 12:30 PM on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with a social to follow at the church, graveside to follow social at 3 PM. 

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Funeral Service
March 23, 2024

12:30 PM
Mossyrock Assembly of God church
101 Mossyrock Ave
Mossyrock, WA 98564


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