Walter died peacefully the morning of April 3rd of natural causes. He was born in Lewiston, Idaho to George and Emma (Robinson) Stonebraker. He spent his youth in Cascade, Idaho riding horses, skiing, and working beside his father at their ranch, driving trucks and learning to fly. Walter’s father was an early Idaho aviation pioneer. Walter soloed at age 16, which began his career and lifelong love of flying.
Walter attended the University of Montana, where he began flight training in the Civil Pilot Training Program. When WWII broke out, Walter was accepted into the Marine Corp as an officer. After training, he boarded the aircraft carrier Bennington as a fully qualified Corsair F4U carrier pilot. He flew 120 combat missions in the pacific, receiving 5 Air Medals and the Distinguished Cross.
Upon leaving the Marines in 1945, Walter went to work as a commercial airline pilot, retiring in 1982 from Delta Airlines. He also flew with the Idaho Air National Guard from 1952-1966. He retired having accumulated 44,000 flying hours.
Walter married Elaine Stoaks in 1944. Their marriage of 67 years was blessed with 3 children; Peter, Sheryl, and Shelley. They lived in Montana, Idaho, Washington state, 35 years in Scottsdale, Arizona, and finally back to Boise to be near family. Together they enjoyed boating, flying, playing competitive doubles tennis, walking, and riding with the motorcycle club.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Wanda and Beverly; and his wife, Elaine. He is survived by his sister, Bettylou Donnelley of Boise; his son, Peter Stonebraker (Jackie) of Novato, California; daughters, Sheryl Bothell (David) of Bainbridge Island, Washington, and Shelley Rupert of Boise. Walter and Elaine also have 6 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
A family celebration of life will be held at a future date. Walter’s family would like to thank the highly professional and caring staff of Willow Park Assisted Living. Goodbye, Dad, you are a hero to many and will be greatly missed.