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Walter A. TeStrake Jr.

Walter A. TeStrake Jr.

KILMARNOCK—Walter Abraham TeStrake Jr. of Kilmarnock died on November 28, 2023. He was born in Muscatine, Iowa, on March 21, 1937. 

He was predeceased by his father and mother, Walter A. TeStrake Sr. and Edna Mae Rummells TeStrake; and a son, David TeStrake.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Phyllis Rhodes TeStrake; a son, Stephen TeStrake; granddaughter, Anne, and grandson, Benjamin, all of Richmond. He is also survived by his sister, Diane TeStrake of Tampa, Fla., her two sons, Kurt and Marc Wagner, and their families. 

In 1944, his parents moved to South Florida and in 1947 to Mount Dora in Central Florida where Walter attended public school. He graduated from Mount Dora High School in 1955 and in 1960 received a bachelor’s of industrial engineering from the University of Florida. 

In August of 1959, he married Carolyn Traxler. In February of 1960 they moved to Richmond and Walter went to work with Reynolds Metals Company for the next 35 years. During his career with Reynolds Aluminum, assignments took him and his family to St. Louis, Mo., in 1963-64, and then back to Richmond. Then in 1971, Walter and his family were sent to a Reynolds operation in Manila, Philippines. Three years later it was back to the Richmond home office as a staff engineer in Reynold’s International Division. 

Following a broken marriage, Walt met and married Phyllis Rhodes in 1975 and she became a stepmom that helped Walt greatly in bringing up two teenagers. The next 15 years found Walt living in Richmond and traveling in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Middle East including North Africa. In 1991, he was assigned as general manager of Reynolds International’s interest in a Joint Venture with the Soviet Union and other partners and was stationed in Moscow, Russia. The physical location of the project was located 2,000 miles east of Moscow and required six hour flights on Aeroflot. On the first Christmas in Moscow (1991), the Soviet Union was dissolved! At the end of the Russia assignment in 1995, Walt retired to the “weekend home” in Kilmarnock. 

In 1990, Kairos Prison ministry, a spin-off of Cursillo (a Christian renewal program of the Catholic Church) was introduced into the Virginia prison system. Walt was a member of the first team that took Kairos into Buckingham Correctional Center and he continued volunteering his time with the Kairos Prison ministry during his retirement years. His heart was truly with his Kairos brothers in prison. Many folks supported this ministry by baking cookies for those inmates attending 4-day weekend and the Holy Spirit changed their hearts. Walt loved this ministry because he could see the changes in these men on the spot and share in the music that also opens the hearts. 

Services will be announced at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Kairos Prison Ministry, P.O. Box 2335, Harrisonburg, VA 22801 ATTN: Treasurer, Buckingham; or Light of Christ Anglican Church, P.O. Box 609, Heathsville, VA 22473. 

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team

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