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Obituary: C. Walter Birkelo

Former city manager and long-time public servant dies at the age of 88.

C. Walter Birkelo, born Dec. 17, 1923, died last Saturday in Davis, CA at the age of 88. He worked in public service for three decades and served as the city manager for South San Francisco from 1977 through 1987.

Birkelo is survived by his wife Ann Birkelo, brother Alden Birkelo, daughters Susan Birkelo, Jennifer Ruttenberg, and Elizabeth Sielke, son Carl Birkelo, and eight grandchildren. 

"Thinking back, I realized how fortunate I was to have been around at a time when some one of Walter's calibre was at the helm of City Hall," South San Francisco City Council member Mark Addieggo said at this week's council meeting.

"Often times politicians give the litany of what we have achieved, but really it’s the professionals that are in City Hall that make it happen day after day. They keep the ship sailing in the right direction," Addieggo said. "I have nothing but wonderful memories of Walter Birkelo."

An obituary in the San Mateo Daily Journal stated that: "During retirement, Walt worked as a consultant and interim city manager, enjoying travel and golf. He was always actively involved in the Lutheran church and is remembered with love for his generosity, humor, caring and unfailing kindness."

A memorial service will be held at 2pm Saturday at Davis Lutheran Church at 317 E. Eighth St. in Davis, CA. Memorials may be given to Davis Lutheran Church, The Nature Conservancy, Yolo Hospice or a charity of choice. An online guestbook is available here.

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Gene Mullin July 13, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I would agree that Walt was the model for city managers; long range planning while running the city on a daily basis, all without fanfare or a need for recognition. As a member of two different commissions during his tenure, he was accessible and informative. May he rest in peace.

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