LAMBERT E. ALTHAVER
Lambert E. Althaver, “Bert”, 92, of Cass City passed peacefully with his family around him at his home on January 19, 2024. He was born May 18, 1931 in Kansas City, Missouri to Edward and Dorothy Althaver. He attended Principia College located in Elsah, Illinois, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree and met his wife, Holly Walpole. September 1952, he joined the US Army in Augusta, GA. He and Holly married in February 1953 and spent the next 69 years together before her passing in July 2022.
Following his two years of service in the military, he joined the family business called Walbro Corporation as an accountant in 1954. He rose through the business. In 1958, he was named Assistant to the President, then promoted to Vice President-Finance in 1965, he was appointed Executive Vice President in 1970. Bert became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1977, eventually becoming the Chief Executive Officer and named Chairman in 1987. Bert finished his distinguished career retiring from Walbro in 1998.
Walbro came to Cass City in 1954 as a small start-up company looking for a location to manufacture small engine carburetors primarily used in lawn mowers. During Bert’s tenure, Walbro became a public company listed on the New York stock exchange. Through his leadership the company expanded into a manufacturer of fuel system products for the global automotive industry serving the Big Three and the growing Japanese, Korean and Chinese auto industry. This period of growth included carburetors for the growing snow mobile and many other outdoor power equipment industries. The Company established a global business throughout the world outside the United States in the countries of: Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Belgium, the U.K., Japan, South Korea and China.
Bert wanted to help build the local community and took a personal interest in its development. He served as President of the Village of Cass City from 1965 to 1984 again from 1987 to 2000 and for a final time from 2004 to 2007 for a total of 35 years. He was the founding Chairman of the Tuscola (County) Area Airport Authority retiring from this role in 2004. Bert was the Director of the Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation for 20 years and a Commissioner for the County Planning Commission for 5 years. In 1998, Bert was appointed to the Board of Hills and Dales General Hospital in Cass City where he served for 20 years.
Bert wanted to develop the community cultural space too. He served as a Director of the Cass City Arts Council and was the Director and Business Manager of the Village Bach Festival which was started by his wife Holly. This festival brought classical musicians from North America to Cass City every Thanksgiving weekend for 20 years. His interest in the arts didn’t stop with music. He was Director of Artrain USA. This organization used the railroad to expose art to people around Michigan for more than 30 years and was developed into a national organization. He served as Chairman of the Board of that organization from 1996 to 2003.
As an Eagle Scout, Bert was active in the Boy Scouts of America, receiving the Distinguished Eagle Scout and Silver Beaver Awards, and served as a member of the Executive Board of the Lake Huron Area Council from 1988 to 2000.
Bert was named Citizen of the Year in 1978 by the Cass City Chamber of Commerce and a Paul Harris Society member of Rotary International, serving twice as President of the Cass City Rotary Club. In 1997, he was named an Outstanding Business Leader by Northwood University (Midland, Michigan). Bert served on the Board of Trustees at Northwood University starting 2000. His service led to the honorary degree of, Doctor of Laws, by Northwood in 2003.
Bert is survived by his daughter, Lauren (William) Piontkowski of Sylvan Lake, MI grandchildren: Elizabeth Holly Piontkowski and fiancé Nate DeHorn of Charleston SC, William Lambert Piontkowski of Sylvan Lake, MI. His son, Brian (Hallie) Althaver of Park City, UT and son, Sam (Parker) Wescott of Park City UT.
Bert Althaver was a family man and a leader we should all try to emulate in our lives. He put his family first and inspired many in the community and in business to always listen and develop actions that benefited all. He led by example, to reach for more in life and to give back in a way that was exemplary.
Memorial service will be held 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9, 2024 in First Presbyterian Church of Cass City. Additional service information will be posted at a later date. Military honors conducted by Cass City V.F.W. Post #3644 and the U.S. Army Honor Guard. Interment will be in Elkland Township Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Cass City Rotary Foundation, 6468 Main St #2, Cass City, MI 48726 or Cass City PROMISE, 4700 Hunt St, Cass City, MI 48726 (www.casscitypromise.com).
Visitation: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9, 2024 in First Presbyterian Church, Cass City
Arrangements by Kranz Funeral Home, Cass City
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