Henry (Hank Sr.) J. Caldwell was born in Buffalo, New York, on January 3, 1931, to Neal and Kathleen (Munday) Caldwell. He was the youngest of three children. Hank passed away on April 8, 2021, in Klamath Falls, Oregon, with family at his side.
His wife Geneva preceded him in death in November 1999, after 48-years of marriage. Daughter Kathy and son Larry also preceded him in death along with brother Larry Caldwell and sister Doreen Bauer.
As a young child, Hank enjoyed playing baseball in the streets with his friends. The youngsters came from poor families but dreamed of the day they would be able to save enough money to see a game in person at Yankee stadium. One time, the friends were brave enough to peek through a hole in the stadium fence. They were caught by a friendly worker and were invited in to watch the game "on the house". It was a highlight of his youth.
At the age of 17, while still in high school, and with signed permission from his mother, Hank joined the United States Navy. He proudly served the Navy in accounting and finance for 8-years. While on shore leave, he lost many friends in a night-time training operation that led to the sinking of his ship, the U.S.S. Hobson.
While in the military, Hank met and married Geneva Williamson in April 1951 in South Carolina.
Together they had a daughter and son. He adopted Geneva's son Lawrence and raised him as his own.
During his Naval career Hank spent 6-months at sea and 6-months at home with his family. In order to be home more often with his family, he transferred to the Air Force branch of the United States military. In January 1963* the Air Force assigned him to Kingsley Field Air Force Base. He drove his family across country in a 1953 Chevrolet and settled in base housing at Falcon Heights.
In 1968, Hank retired from the Air Force and returned to South Carolina with his family. While in South Carolina, the family realized that Klamath Falls was truly home, so he applied, and was awarded the manager position for Weyerhaeuser Federal Credit Union. Again, Hank and the family made the long drive across country, returning to Klamath Falls.
At the beginning of his career, the credit union was located just outside the gates of the Weyerhaeuser
Mill. In time, the credit union outgrew the building and relocated to the credit union center on Shasta
Way and the East Side By-Pass. After outgrowing that location, the credit union built the Washburn Way branch and was renamed Forest Products Federal Credit Union (now known as Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union). Hank retired as credit union manager in 1993. He referred to the members as friends.
In his younger years, Hank enjoyed playing tennis, participating in a bowling league and golfing. In later years, he enjoyed watching his favorite baseball team (New York Yankees) and basketball team (Boston Celtics) and playing cards. On occasion he could be coerced into assembling puzzles.
After Geneva passed away, Hank started attending St. Paul Episcopal Church and met Medora Wiltrout.
Hank and Medora spent almost 19 years together. At church* Hank served on Vestry and was Senior Warden. Together, Hank and Medora sang in the choir and served in the Str Paul food pantry. They enjoyed traveling to visit classmates and relatives in Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Hawaii and California. They spent many summer days camping and fishing on the Rogue River and made several trips to Reno.
Hank loved his grandchildren and spent his retirement years attending nearly every activity the grandkids were involved in. Even in blizzards, he would travel far and wide to watch baseball games, wrestling matches, basketball, volleyball, track and swim meets, talent shows, parades, piano recitals, 4-H competitions, cattle shows and other events. Prior to his passing, he indicated his time with the grandkids was one of the greatest gifts and enjoyments of his lifetime.
Playing cards with the Wiltrout family was also of great enjoyment, especially when Hank won (which he indicated "was often"). Medora's daughter, Jessica, and Hank were good enough to participate in a poker tournament in Reno where Hank placed fourth overall.
In addition to Medora, Hank is survived by son Henry "Hank" Jr, and wife Debbie (Klamath Falls, OR).
Surviving grandchildren include Bobbie Johnson (Salem, OR), Donnie Miller and wife Jennifer (Klamath Falls, OR) j Tami Gaughan and husband Brett (Prairie Village, KS), and Heather Caldwell (Alturas, CA). Hank is survived by nine great-grandchildren (Thomas, Tyson, Addyson, Andrew, Amelia, Magdalene, Tommy, Brogan and Joseph) and son-in-law Jim Miller.
Hank is also survived by Medora's four children which include Melinda King and husband Randy (Olalla,
WA), Rebecca Wiltrout and husband Gene (Sequim, WA), Jessica Wiltrout and husband Bud (Grants Pass, OR), and Miles Wiltrout and wife Lisa (Medford, OR). He also had a special place in his heart for the Wiltrout grandkids (Parker, Harrison and Graeme),
A family graveside service with military honors will be held on May 24, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at Mt. Calvary Cemetery with Rev. Jack Coffey officiating. The family has entrusted O'Hair-Wards Funeral Chapel with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to Paralyzed Veterans of America, Pro. Box 758589, Topeka, Kansas 66675 (phone 1-800-555-9140) or to the charity of one's choice.
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