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Walter H. Rettig, GM retiree, veteran March 2, 1918 -- Dec. 25, 2006

Walter H. Rettig died Monday in Wedgewood Health Care Facility, Amherst, after a long illness. He was 88.

Mr. Rettig retired from General Motors Corp. and was a World War II veteran, serving nearly three decades in the Coast Guard and Navy Reserve.

He was born in New York City, and his family moved to Long Island, where he attended schools. He served on three Coast Guard vessels and visited Greenland, Iceland and Portugal.

After World War II, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve. He also served in Toastmasters International for 10 years and was district vice president. He was spokesman for the Navy for recruitment in many local schools.

He worked several years as a steam engineer for public housing in Erie County and then worked for 20 years for General Motors as a machine repairman, retiring in 1980.

He was a member of Post 14, AMVETS; Post 1041, American Legion; and Union 1171 GM Retirees. He was a charter member of the CPO Club and a member of Trinity Old Lutheran Church.

His first wife, Lillian Granato Rettig, died in 1987.

Survivors include his wife, Helen T. Gagola; two sons, Douglas and Leonard; and three stepchildren, Albert Gagola, James Gagola and Carolyn Burns.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. today in Amigone Funeral Home, 2600 Sheridan Drive, Town of Tonawanda.

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