In Memory

J. Kurtis Wahlbrink

John Kurtis Wahlbrink, age 70, of Jefferson City, Mo., beloved brother, uncle and friend, passed away Saturday December 3, 2016 at the Hospice Center of Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Columbia. He was born August 30, 1946, in St. Louis, to the late Kenneth John and June Marie Kersting Wahlbrink. Kurt cared little about an obituary but his story is shared in his honor. He grew up in St. Louis with all its traditions, played baseball and basketball in school, and golf throughout and beyond. He was a 1964 honors graduate of Pattonville High School, and in 1968 received a BA in History from the University of Missouri Columbia. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971. His aptitude for foreign languages led him to be trained at The Defense Language Institute at Ft. Bliss, Texas. While deployed, Kurt attained the rank of Sergeant First Class, serving as a Vietnamese language interpreter on helicopter missions and in remote villages. He was a Bronze Star recipient. Following military service Kurt returned to the MU School of Law, received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1974, and became a member of the Missouri Bar Assn. He later completed a Master's Degree in English History at UMSL. His career included contract law and general counsel for Corrigan Company, and for Cupples, Inc., working with legal teams for major construction projects including the World Trade Center. Following his retirement, he taught English as a Second Language, and worked for the US Census Bureau. He enjoyed many travels. For most of his life, he resided in St. Louis, but also in LaJolla, Calif., Conyers, Ga., and in later years, Jefferson City. Kurt was an adoring uncle to a fortunate two. Like many others he rarely spoke about his time in Vietnam, but was proud to be a U.S. Army Veteran. He was quietly proud as well, to have sustained his fight against alcohol. Kurt traveled to Estes Park, Colo. to celebrate his 70th birthday with his transplanted family, and soon after, accepted a devastating diagnosis with dignity, thinking of others over self until his final days. He will be sadly missed by his family and dear friends for his warmth and wit, his kind and giving heart, for his frequent surprises including his favorite "As Seen on TV" gifts, for his humble intellect, and for his deep patriotism. Just prior to entering hospice care, he cast his ballot with concern but also great hope for the country he loved so much. He is loved dearly and survived by his sister, Kay Miller and her husband Bill; nephew, Ben Miller; niece, Kate Rusch and her husband Steve; and a great-nephew due in December. With deep gratitude for the miracle of life, we say goodbye to one very special family member as we welcome another. Besides his parents, Kurt was preceded in death by an infant sister, Kristine Marie. A private Celebration of Life is planned in Kurt's honor. Arrangements are under the direction of Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home, with assistance by The Reverend David Henry of First Presbyterian Church, Jefferson City. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to The Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital CLC/Hospice Unit, 800 Hospital Dr., Columbia, MO 65201, where Kurt received compassionate care during his final days. Those wishing to email tributes or condolences to the family may do so at the website.

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03/22/18 02:50 PM #1    

Wayne Smith

A remarkable mind nestled in a funny, intelligent, unorthodox, and caring person. Kurt was one of my best friends. I can still see him squinting through his glasses, lips pursed, eager to wade in and join the fray. He would not approve of me being overly "mushy", so let me simply say, you'll be missed, man. Sorely missed. 

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