John, the fourth child of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Walvoord, was born on September 22, 1872 in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. As a young man, John was captivated by a young lady, also of Dutch descent, named Mary Flipse.
Mary was the youngest of eight children born to Zeelanders Jan Flipse and Blazina Verhulst. She was born on November 4, 1872 in the Holland Township of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Mary would not have anything to do with John Walvoord because he wasn’t a Christian. John was persistent, but Mary, a deep-rooted believer, was steadfast and refused because she believed in the Scripture that says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Later, John trusted Christ, and after a while Mary finally allowed him to court her. A wedding date was soon set. But, John, who was an avid player of a game called “football” had received a fairly nasty black eye from a rather raucous game and Mary refused to marry him until he was more presentable. In the 1890s, John’s football uniform consisted of a heavy sweater, pants made of a quilted material for padding, and no helmet. They were finally married on December 26, 1899, less than a week before the beginning of the 20th century.
In late 1909, when John and Mary were expecting their third child, some complications arose due to Mary being ill. She had always been sickly, even as a child. The doctor felt it would be dangerous for her to bear a child, and he strongly recommended that the pregnancy be aborted.
Mary was convinced that the Lord wanted her to have the child and her faith was rewarded. Not only was a healthy baby boy born, but she regained her health and lived past the century mark! This baby boy, John F. Walvoord, would later become one of the most well known of the Walvoord family.
John Garrett, graduated from Sheboygan High School and from the Milwaukee Normal School (later called Milwaukee State Teachers’ College) where he had been senior class president. He played right forward for the Milwaukee Normal School “Cardinal” Basketball team and was also business manager for the senior Echo board (the school yearbook). After receiving his diploma in 1898 he returned to Sheboygan and was principal of an elementary school for 21 years, following which, from 1919 to 1924 he became the Sheboygan Schools Superintendent. John was fired when he refused to allow the sale of beer at local high school sporting events.
In 1924 and 1925 this veteran educator attended the University of Wisconsin. While there he roomed with his son, Randall, who was also a student there. After John received his degree, the family moved to Racine where John became principal of the Stephen Bull Elementary School in 1925.
In February 1929, while en route to Sheboygan for his mother’s funeral, John collapsed while on board a train in Milwaukee. He was taken to a Milwaukee hospital and later moved to the home of his brother Anthony.
On September 22, 1932, his 60th birthday, John was compelled to relinquish active duty from Stephen Bull due to illness.
John Garrett Walvoord died on November 10, 1932 at the age of sixty. The school superintendent and principals acted as honorary pallbearers. The acting pallbearers were members of the session of the Presbyterian Church. No classes were held at the Bull school that day and the majority of children attended the funeral. A number of friends came from Sheboygan to attend the funeral.
His wife Mary lived for a while with her son, John, in Ft. Worth, Texas. She later sold their house at 309 West Blvd. in Racine and moved to Washington State to live with her daughter Ethel. Mary died on October 25, 1974, just two weeks before her 102nd birthday. Both her and her husband John, are buried in the Walvoord Cemetery in Cedar Grove.
John and Mary had three children (all born in Sheboygan): Ethel Elise, Randall Henry, and John Flipse.by