Wallace Robert Blischke, the oldest child of Walter and Mabel Schulz Blischke, was born April 20, 1934, in Oak Park, Ill. Wally grew up in the west Chicago suburbs with his brother and two sisters.
He attended a Lutheran grade school and the local public high school.
Wally’s father was a master carpenter who built a dark room in the family home basement. As a teenager, Wally developed his own film and took portraits for Christmas cards for family and neighbors. Wally’s father also built and installed a billiard table and a ping-pong table in the basement. The basement quickly became a favorite place for Wally, his siblings and friends, with his mother supplying the group with her homemade pizza. Many of this group became life-long friends and Wally enjoyed visiting them when in the Chicago area.
Wally’s industrious work habits started early with first a paper route, then setting pins in a bowling alley, and, later while in college, working in the shipping department of a local manufacturing firm.
Wally attended Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Ill., receiving a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and biology in 1956. He was accepted into a graduate program at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and was awarded a doctorate of philosophy in statistics in 1962.
Wally married the former Rosemary Case in Ithaca, N.Y., where their daughter, Elizabeth Ann, was born. Wally spent a year in post-doctoral studies at North Carolina State University and at the end of that year, the family moved to California where Wally had accepted a job in statistical analysis and reliability with an aerospace firm. The family welcomed a son, Scott Douglas, while Wally continued working as a statistical consultant and teaching short courses in statistics.
Wally married Beverly Satterblom in 1972. The family grew to include her children, Douglas Paul and Carol Jean, and their son, Michael Walter. Wally accepted a position as a professor in the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, and continued to teach there for 27 years. He also continued to work as a consultant in statistical analysis. He authored more than 50 publications, including six books, four on warranty and two on reliability. He was an associate editor of several journals and a fellow of the American Statistical Association. He frequently presented papers at statistical conferences which allowed him and his family to pursue one of his great interests, travel.
In 1995, Wally married Carol Kinslow. Her two daughters, Julia Ann and Kathryn Aileen, joined the family as well. Wally and Carol shared a strong interest in music and had met while singing in the St. Andrew’s church choir. They greatly enjoyed philharmonic, choral and opera performances in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago.
Wally’s family was always very important to him. He enjoyed visiting his daughter in upstate New York and his son and family in Alaska, spending time with his siblings at sibling dinners, attending the grandchildren’s many sports and school activities, and most of all, celebrating birthdays and holidays.
Wally had many and varied interests. He was a lifelong Lutheran and had been a member of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church for 40 years. He was active in the music program, singing tenor in the choir, and was Congregational Council president multiple times. Wally and his family had a mountain retreat in Idyllwild and he particularly enjoyed singing with the Idyllwild Master Chorale in their annual Christmas performance.
Wally loved to travel and always researched the history and culture of the places he visited. He enjoyed classical music, particularly opera, and had attended operas in many of the major opera houses in the U.S. and Europe. His favorite city was New York City where he enjoyed many opera performances at the Metropolitan Opera.
He had what he called a genetic passion for Chicago Cubs baseball. He looked forward every year to spring training and each year was convinced the Cubs would win the series. Wally was a gracious host and a marvelous cook. He was never happier than when he was preparing a special meal in his kitchen, surrounded by family and friends.
Wally is survived by his wife, Carol; his children, Elizabeth Housel and husband John, Scott Blischke and wife Lisa, and Michael Blischke and wife Claudia; and his stepdaughters, Carol Satterblom, Julia Mihata and husband Robert, and Kathryn Kinslow. He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Stephanie, Christopher, Callahan, Nathaniel, Shayla and Hayley Blischke, and Grace and Blake Mihata; his brother William Blischke and wife Sharon; his sister Sharon Janulaw and husband Al; and his brother-in-law Lester Beccue.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Beverly; his son, Douglas Satterblom; his sister, Marilynn Beccue; and an infant brother, Roger Blischke.