Feb. 9, 1927 – Aug. 30, 2013
Whitey, 86, was born on Feb. 9, 1927, to Andro and Leondina Friederich Schlabs in Kulm, N.D., growing up in Merricourt on the family farm. The family moved to Lodi in 1936.
He served in the United States Navy from 1945 to 1946 during World War II, where he was a Fireman First Class on the USS Begor APT-127, where he participated in the testing of the atom bomb on Bikini Island. Then he worked for Runyon, Dorsey and Wheeler Pear Growers and Buckley Trucking in Courtland. Graduating with a degree in agriculture, he attended UC Davis from 1947-1950. From 1952-1954, during the Korean War, he served in the United States Marines Corps as a radiotelephone operator.
He married Patricia Chiles on Sept. 2, 1951, making their home in Davis and raising their family. He farmed for his father-in-law, Earl Chiles, in Davis from 1954 to 1965. He then worked for FMC Corporation, Martin Bros. Fertilizer Company, owned his own company, Yolano Ag. Products, and worked as an Ag Consultant and Environmental Assessor for Bank of America. During his retirement years he enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing in Alaska and playing cribbage and poker. He was a scout master in Davis and a member of the VFW and Yolo County Farm Bureau. But most of all he loved working in his yard and garden and sharing his fruits and vegetables with family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his daughter Nancy Douglas and her husband Marc of Davis and their daughter Jennifer; sons Jim and his wife Coleen of Ohio and their daughter Jasmine, and Bill and his daughters Crystal (Kent), Anna and Corrine; and one great-granddaughter Sophia. He is also survived by his sisters and brother, Linda, Art, Vivian, Marylin and Rosemary. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 57 years, Patricia Chiles Schlabes in October 2008, his parents, his sisters Sarah and LaVerne, and brother Max.
A viewing will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and a Celebration of Life at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, both at Wiscombe Funeral Home, 116 D Street in Davis. Interment will follow at Davis Cemetery, 820 Pole Line Road. A reception will follow immediately at Sudwerk Restaurant, 2001 Second St.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Walter “Whitey” Schlabes memory to the Veterans to Farmers, c/o Buck Adams, 2515 Lawrence St., Denver, CO 80205. Veterans to Farmers is an organization that embodies Whitey’s pride for military service and his passion for farming. The organization helps Veterans recover from their physical and psychological injuries by mastering the trade of farming and utilizing the skills learned to become productive members of their local farming communities. In memory of Whitey, Veterans to Farmers is naming one of their growing houses after him.
Those who wish to sign a guestbook online may do so at www.wiscombefuneral.com.