Cover photo for Walter John Kannell's Obituary
Walter John Kannell Profile Photo
1923 Walter 2022

Walter John Kannell

September 28, 1923 — December 30, 2022

Davenport Barrington

Walter John Kannell, 99, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 30, 2022. Walter was born in Quincy, MA on September 28, 1923, the son of Einar and Aino Kannell and lived most of his long life in Fitchburg, MA.

Walter was a proud WWII veteran of the United States Army Air Forces, where he served in North Africa and Italy as a radar technician for B-24s during World War II. Walter was a Founding Member of The World War II Museum in New Orleans. On June 19, 1948, he married Barbara Ann Wiback, with whom he celebrated 63 wonderful years of marriage until her passing in 2011.

During his school years, Walter enjoyed sports; playing basketball, participating in school plays and school dances. He was in an area basketball league after graduating from Fitchburg High School, class of 1941. Walter worked for Simonds Saw and Steel Company for about a year prior to enlisting in the military. Following his service, he returned to Simonds where he worked for over 40 years. His position prior to retiring was as a Specialty Product Design Engineer, interfacing with customers who had a need for custom saws or cutting blades/tools.

Walter enjoyed reading mysteries, spy novels and nature magazines. He played a mean game of cribbage, always ready to play or teach the game. Walter was an avid sports fan, attending two Olympic Games and volunteering at Finnish American Field Days held at Saima Park in Fitchburg, MA. Walter and his wife attended many a dance, enjoyed classical music, the music of the 1940’s and traveling near and far. Walter was an enthusiastic skier, skiing until he was 80.

He loved spending summers with family at Wyman’s Pond, swimming as well as walking in the woods. His love of animals and competition showed as he proudly attended horse shows where his daughter Virginia and granddaughter Stephanie competed. He also cheered on his grandchildren and great grandchildren at their soccer and baseball games. Walter was an active member of the Elm Street Community Church in Fitchburg while living in the area.

Walter is survived by his daughters, Jane Kannell-O’Neill of Barrington, IL and Virginia Foresman of Yadkinville, NC; grandchildren: Stephanie (Chad) Cosby, Kyle (Kristi) Foresman, Christopher O’Neill, and Amanda (Gerald) Reid, and great grandchildren: Connor, Noah, Tyler and Ella Cosby, Kacie and Karrie Foresman, and Logan O’Neill. In addition to his wife and parents, Walter is preceded in death by his son-in-law, Gerald T. O’Neill. A committal service will be conducted at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 111 Glenallen Street, Winchendon, MA at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023. Arrangements are being handled by Davenport Family Funeral Home, 149 West Main Street, Barrington, IL 60010 and by Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the following: Elm Street Community Church, 264 Elm Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420, The Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree at , or The World War II Museum in New Orleans at .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter John Kannell, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 6

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree