He was born the ninth of 10 children on Oct. 8, 1943, in a farm community near Jefferson City, Mo., to Andrew and Theresa Veltrop Lage.
He attended St. Thomas Seminary in Hannibal, Mo., and Cardinal Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Mo.
Wally served in the army in the late 1960s. He graduated with a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Wally began his newspaper career in 1969 with Winsor Newspapers in Boonville, Mo. By age 25, he was publisher of the Boonville Daily News and publisher of free publications in Jefferson City and Columbia, Mo. In 1979 he began a new weekly publication in Terre Haute, Ind.
He was president of newspaper operations in the Paxton Media Group and general manager of the Paducah Sun in Paducah, Ky., from 1984 to 1993. He oversaw acquisitions of several daily and weekly newspapers.
Wally joined Rust Communications in 1993 where he was vice president and chief operating officer through the acquisition or startup of about 50 newspaper titles in eight states, including 13 daily newspapers.
He was very active in the Cape Girardeau community. Among many involvements, he was a longtime member of the Lions Club and the Saint Francis Medical Center board of directors. He served on boards of numerous newspaper organizations and was a member of the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame.
He was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Church. Wally's faith was central to his life and something he was proud to pass along to his children.
Survivors include his wife, Dori Lage of Cape Girardeau; two sons, Joseph D. Lage and wife, Beth, of Chicago, Ill., Jeffrey Lage and fiancee, Alyssa, of Cape Girardeau; two daughters, Gina Jones and husband, Hugh, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Jenny Shaffer and husband, Jason, of Kirkwood, Mo.; four brothers, Lawrence, Paul, Ben and Wilbur Lage all of Jefferson City; eight grandchildren, Jacob, 10, and Katie, 4, Lage; Anna, 7, Andrew, 4, and Matthew, 1, Jones; Benjamin, 8, and Alexander, 5, Shaffer; and Kaden Lage, 10 months.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, three sisters and a daughter, Julie.
Wally was dedicated to the newspaper business but even more to his family. He was a mentor to many. He was always the life of the party with an infectious laugh. He loved golf, convertibles and Cardinals baseball. He will be remembered for his many "Wallyisms," such as "throw the flag" and "truck's leaving."
Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., today, Tuesday, Aug. 24, at Ford and Sons Funeral Home on Mount Auburn Road in Cape Girardeau.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 25, at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Cape Girardeau, with the Rev. David Hulshof officiating.
Entombment will be at Cape County Memorial Park. Full military honors will be provided by Missouri Honors Team.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Wally Lage Memorial Fund.
Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.