BOWLING GREEN - Norton Wallace “Wally” Mudd, a former operations manager for Lasalle's department store, died of kidney failure Saturday in Wood County Hospital here. He was 78.
Mr. Mudd first worked at the Lasalle's store in Bowling Green while a student at Bowling Green High School. He enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school, serving in the Air Corps as an electrical specialist in Europe during World War II.
When Mr. Mudd returned to Bowling Green after the war, he resumed working for Lasalle's and was promoted from sales clerk to department head and, eventually, operations manager.
As operations manager, Mr. Mudd was responsible for the physical maintenance of the store, and also oversaw the sales departments.
“He did almost the same things as a store manager did,” said his wife, Marjorie, whom he married Oct. 10, 1942. “Most managers they ever had would tell you who really ran the store.”
Mr. Mudd was offered other posts within Lasalle's, but those jobs involved moving, and Bowling Green was where he wanted to be.
“He had traveled all over the world when he was in the Air Corps,” Mrs. Mudd said. “He wanted to stay here.”
Despite his job title, Mr. Mudd was more than just operations manager at Lasalle's.
“Lasalle's basically used the store as a training ground for managers,” said his daughter, Amelia Mudd-Greenfield. “He would train them, and they would be sent to other stores.”
Mr. Mudd was a natural mentor and teacher. The combination of his detail-oriented character and concern for youth spurred him to organize many youth events in Bowling Green.
After World War II, Mr. Mudd organized dances for teenagers at the American Legion. The events provided a venue for local bands to play and for teens to socialize.
“Kids had their own little bands, and they needed some exposure,” Mrs. Mudd said. “And the teens would come from miles around to dance and enjoy a Saturday night.”
After retiring from Lasalle's at age 63, Mr. Mudd took a part-time job as a courier for Mid Am Bank, now known as Sky Bank.
Mr. Mudd was an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church, where he founded the Royal Builders Sunday school class and was a member of the men's group. He was a member of the Bowling Green Exchange Club, American Legion Post 45, and VFW Post 1148.
Surviving are his wife of 58 years, Marjorie; daughters, Sherry DeWyer and Amelia Mudd-Greenfield, and two grandchildren.
The body will be in the Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home here after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Trinity United Methodist Church, Bowling Green.
The family requests tributes to the Trinity United Methodist Church music fund.