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Walter Brubaker

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February 29, 1928 – February 10, 2021

Recently, Walter Brubaker passed away in February, one month shy of his 93rd birthday. He was a great father to two sons and a daughter, a loving husband to Maxine for almost 50 years, and for the past 15 years to Jean, his second wife. He was so much more though. He led a very full life full of many accomplishments, both personal and professional.

Born on leap year day in 1928, he missed out on World War II, but did go to the California Maritime Academy where he got a degree in Navigation and Seamanship. He took that into the Navy and served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. He had the first surfboard rental at La Jolla Shores in the 1940s. He went to Hollywood High but graduated from La Jolla High. He graduated from the Merchant Marine academy and sailed on the Golden Bear across the equator and on a mercy mission to deliver milk in Rome, where he met the Pope. He joined the Navy as an officer during the Korean War. He served two tours in Vietnam. The first time, he commanded a fleet of mine sweepers searching for weapons on Vietnamese junks off the coast. The second time, he was in charge of Naval Intelligence in Saigon, sending reel-to-reel recordings rather than letters.

He became a scoutmaster within one month of returning to the U.S. With his sons he made many hikes in the Sierra, including an ascent of Mt. Whitney. He was in charge of the Naval Pilot training program in Coronado, training pilots how to survive and evade capture.

He retired from the Navy in his 40s to start a charter fishing business, taking fishermen out for albacore and swordfish. He was a true entrepreneur, using his boat to take scuba divers out, and even Time magazine wrote an article about his burial-at-sea service! He was a tuna seiner Captain. He was a cruise ship captain in the Mexico Rivera. He owned a fleet of mobile repair trucks for yachts not wanting to pull out of the water.

He could fix anything. Diesels, radars, etc.

He retired and built a home in the foothills of the Sierra, becoming the president of the Jenny Lind Fire District. His wife, Maxine, passed in 2001, and he decided on traveling the U.S. in an RV for a while. Then he met Jean in 2006, married her, and took her traveling with him all over the U.S. He settled in the desert of Nevada and then in southern Oregon. He would’ve kept going if he hadn’t been taken down by cancer. He lived a great life—more than most.

His final resting plans are to have half of his ashes buried with Maxine in the gold mining town of Forest City, where she grew up. The other half is going to his mistress, The Sea.


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