Wally intro

 This morning I received a call from Jim Beaman a local woodturner here in Tucson. “Hey I am headed down to see Wally. You want to go?” I was all over it.

To bring you all up to date a couple of weeks ago Wally Dickerman was to have a stint put in. They had found some blockage and a single stint would take care of it. Wee complications. A one day event in the hospital became more much more. Next was pneumonia, kidney function slowed, and irregular heartbeat. “I thought it was over.” After the pneumonia and start of recovery Wally received a pace maker.

Our visit was at a rehab center in Green Valley. When we arrived he was in a chair with his jeans on that had been pressed with a crease and a hard pressed shirt on. We woke him and he was so glad to see us. I was wearing a western hat that I turn in and had some shavings. I told him he was welcome to them.

He started to tell us about the old days. He had always turned in his shop by himself and did not know any other turners. He saw an ad for a turning demo at a local wood supply company. He thought he would go. He said he will never forget seeing his first bowl gouge and the long shavings that came off that gouge. “They were more than a yard long” Ya, it was his first bowl gouge and the turner was Dale Nish.

He told us many more stories about people like David Ellsworth. Hollow forms, something that was from another planet. His memory today at 92 is much better than mine and I am much younger. His handshake was as strong as ever.

He is doing rehab 2 to 3 times a day. He is strong and quick witted yet. His lovely wife came in as Jim and I were getting ready to leave. His daughter also came in with her husband, they were headed to the airport where the husband was leaving for Portland. Wally’s daughter is staying until the end of January and then she is headed home. She is prepping her home for Wally and his wife’s arrival. Yes they are moving to Portland to be with family.

It sounds as though Wally will be headed home to Green Valley AZ soon. He will see the cardiologist Feb 21.

For me, being new to woodturning, it has been a privilege to spend time with Wally. At the AAW symposium in Phoenix I again asked him to critique the first piece I ever brought to an AAW. Being the gentleman he is, he was gentle but honest. This summer we are planning on a trip to the Pacific Northwest, now it must include Portland.

Wally at the AAW with my turning and ready to critique.

Wally thumb


Yes Steve Schlumpf, I did tell him hello from you and all of us in the Midwest.

This was written with the permission of Wally.

Ron Campbell

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Saturday the 20th. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.