Walter A. Wojan Profile Photo

Walter A. Wojan

December 18, 1923 — October 17, 2023


Walter A. Wojan

Walter A. Wojan, 99 years and 10 months, passed away peacefully at his home on Burt Lake near Alanson on October 17, 2023. He went to be, once again, with his wife, Vera, and daughters, Caroline and Ann. 

Walter was born December 18th 1923 in the Polish community known as Lark’s Lake near Pellston, Michigan, to his parents, Anthony (Tony) Wojan and Sophia Danaj Wojan, the second of eleven children. He worked from a young age for his father Anthony who was a farmer and a logger.     

At the age of 11 he came to Beaver Island with his family to help his father with his logging business. Through the late 1930’s and most of the 1940’s they had three different saw mills on the Island. At the age of 18, he was drafted by the United States Army and proudly served his country fighting in the Pacific for three years and two months, from Australia through the chain of islands, all the way to Okinawa. Of the 125 men he started with, he was one of only five still on active duty at the end of the war. He returned to Beaver Island in January 1946 to see his parents and siblings who had returned a second time to do more logging. 

While visiting his parents he met Vera Mae McDonough. Walter and Vera were married on January 29th 1947. She preceded him in death on April 9, 1980, and his youngest daughter Ann Marie Schmidt in May 2019. His second child, Caroline Wojan, also died just after birth in 1948. When his family moved back to the mainland in the late 1940’s, the love of his life, Vera, wanted to remain on the island with her family, and he obliged her wishes. He continued logging on his own and in the mid 1950’s became a contractor building cottages and homes all over Beaver Island until he semi-retired from construction at the age of 65 in 1988. Walter remained a contractor however, working for his children and friends as a builder until he was in his early 90’s. Walter was a natural born engineer and teacher who was very generous with his time and talents to all of his children and friends who needed him. After working with their Dad for several years, his son, Jim, took over Walter’s Excavation Business and his son, Ron, went on to create his own construction business. When the Island’s economy hit bottom in the late 1950’s, he was one of about nine businessmen that worked together to keep the Island going. When the Island’s population reached just 110 people, about 1959, Walter and Vera and their 10 surviving children made up almost 10% of the Island’s population.

Walter enjoyed his retirement years making new friends in Georgia and Florida, while spending summers on Beaver Island. After moving back to northern Michigan full time, he spent 23 years at his second home on Burt Lake and made many lifelong friends there as well. He was highly respected among his neighbors and called on for everything from fixing plumbing to building barns to cutting down trees.

Walter is survived by nine of his children:  Edward B. (Constance) Wojan, Jeanne Marie (John) Gillespie, Ronald L. (Patricia) Wojan, Angela J. Wojan, James L. (Karen) Wojan, Audrey C. (Ken) Chapman, Patricia A. (Greg) Brynaert, Diane Wojan-S (Lester), Linda L. (Neil) Marzella, and his sister Madelyn Renaud and his brother Albert Wojan, plus 24 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, one great-great granddaughter as well as many nieces and nephews. 

At Walter’s request there will be no visitation. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, October 28th at 11:00 am at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Beaver Island, with Father Patrick Cawley officiating and burial following the mass at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers please make charitable donations to Holy Cross Catholic Church or the Beaver Island Rural Health Center, both on Beaver Island.

Arrangements are in the care of the Charlevoix Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.  Please sign his online guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter A. Wojan, please visit our flower store.


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