ROTHBURY, MI ― Walter "Wally" Wojack, 89, of Rothbury, MI passed away on Saturday, April 8, 2017 in Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. Many remember him as the owner of Double JJ Ranch―home of the annual Electric Forest music festival.
He purchased the 2,300 acre horse ranch that inevitably became JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan and was closely involved with it for over 65 years. In 1955 Wally and a small group of people led an effort to repopulate an area of the ranch that was devastated by harvesting. They planted 6” tall white pine seedlings that are now over 70 feet tall, and is now the site of an iconic Electric Forest Festival that is enjoyed by over 50,000 attendees each year.
Wally was considered the local historian, story teller, and mentor for many of the ranch hands and employees, and his passion for nature and people helped build lasting memories for all their guests. He lived and actively worked at the ranch he loved until his passing. Many festival-goers remember him on his four-wheeler and waving friendly goodbyes to those heading out after the four-day festival.
It goes without saying that this man created one of the most influential venues of our generation, and his life's work will live on and impact many generations to come. His spirit will live on. Long live the forest.
Wally was born on November 2, 1927 in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Stanley and Mary Wojciak. Wally lived a full and productive life, and was surrounded by family and friends who loved him dearly. He believed in working hard, pursuing his dreams no matter how big or small, helping others without any hesitation, and touching the hearts of everyone who knew him.
Wally accomplished many feats in his life that most of us can only dream of, such as being a highly-decorated World War II veteran, a successful entrepreneur, a pilot, and owning and operating a 2,300 acre horse ranch and resort. Wally served his country during World War II as a deckhand on a warship stationed in the Philippines, and was injured during the battle of Leyte Gulf, which was the largest naval battle during the war. Upon returning home after the war he finished his education and began his career at General Electric, where he worked for 16 years. He then started his first company called Ohio Transformer, which he ran with two partners successfully for 27 years.
Preceded in death by his wife, Sandra on November 2, 2012. He is survived by two sons and a daughter-in-law, Randall and Lisa Wojack of North Canton and Christopher Wojack of Uniontown. Five grandchildren; Lauren (John Paul) Jackson of Naples, Fla., Caley (Mike) Elliott of Navarre, Presley Hall of North Canton, Andrew Wojack of North Canton and Nicholas Wojack of Uniontown.
As requested by Wally, there will be no formal services.