John Waling


John Robert Waling was born on October 25, 1946 and went to be with our Lord on May 14, 2017.

He was born to John Neil and Bonnie Ruth Waling in Rensselaer, Indiana. The oldest of six siblings, John grew up in Pearland, Texas. It was there, as he would say, he obtained his “PHD” (Pearland High School Diploma). After graduation, he served in the United States Air Force.

“A soft word turneth away wrath.”  “Never be too old that you can’t be playful; never be too playful that you can’t be mature.” “If you truly want to be successful, keep 3 letters in mind – DPR – Develop Positive Relationships (lift others up first and you will not have lift up yourself).” John always seemed to have the right scripture or saying needed for just that moment. Be it deep or playful, he had a way of taking the focus outside of yourself (and himself), realign it with a Godly principle, and it was there you found the answers you sought. This was his gift, so it feels wholly inadequate for one person to sum up the life of John Waling. Therefore, permit me to steal the words that others have poured out these past few days.

“He was a kind man with endless hugs and always looking to help others through their toughest times. Even through his hospital stay last week, he was asking the nurses if he could pray for them because their job was so difficult.” (Daughter, Natalie Van Winkle”)

(Ron Waling, son), a man of very few words, but probably the most tender spirit and deepest well of feelings of anyone I’ve ever known, says it all in these few words) “Today is a hard day… it’s breaking my heart… I love you very much, dad!”

“He taught me how to do so many things, like driving and river rafting. He sparked my love for camping and being outdoors, but most of all, he showed me true and enduring love and non-judgmental support.” (Daughter, Laraine Saldivar)

“Leukemia came to claim my Dad’s life, ah, but ‘O death, where is thy sting?’ My Daddy is a child of God. As much I want to be selfish and hold him for as long as I can, we know that he will see his Savior, who will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I love my Daddy more than I can ever express.” (Daughter, Rhonda)

“Last night, I was holding his hand and he put his hand on top of mine and nodded. I knew what he was trying to say and I’m forever blessed to have had that special moment with him.” (Daughter – Christine)

My daddy was my greatest teacher. Teaching me when he didn’t know it. I watched him. I listened to him (even when he was sure I didn’t). He navigated successes and failures with humility and simply wanting to glorify his Father. In the end, even as a stubborn teen, when I had major life decisions, from joining the army to marriage and struggles with children, I found myself seeking his counsel. As I’ve grown, my greatest treasure is to have found that he thought enough of me to seek my counsel or seek a word from the Lord… how could this be? As I’ve heard others come to speak of how he touched their lives, ministries into which he poured his body, mind, and spirit, I’ve come to see that he somehow managed to edify you, the gift the Lord instilled in you, combine them into a blessing the he too could share with you, and yet made the Lord the center of all things!

John and Olivia shared a love that inspires and humbles us all. For 37 years, he loved his “Sweety” with every molecule of his being. They’ve been a living embodiment of 1 Corinthians 13, defining true love. Even when times seemed hardest, together their strength was each other and Matt 6:33 – seek ye first, the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added unto you.

In the final hours, I truly believe the spirit of the Lord spoke through her to bring him and us comfort when she said, “I am yours, and you are mine”.

You have been a testament of God’s tender love


He was preceded in death by his mother Bonnie Ruth Waling, father John Neil Waling, brothers Irvin Waling and James Waling and grandson Gabriel Waling.

He is survived by his beloved wife Olivia Waling, children Natalie and Skip Van Winkle, Ron Waling, Laraine Saldivar, Rhonda and Manfred Freytag, Christine and Damon Welsh, Steven and Pamela Waling, 16 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren, numerous extended family members and friends.