Michael David Walter passed peacefully and on his own terms early in the morning of Sunday, April 25.
He is survived by his younger brother Marty Walter, son Lance Walter, daughter-in-law Sue Sabatke and three grandchildren (Mason, Sydney, and Brooke). He was preceded in death by his wife of over 55 years, Karen Walter, in December 2020 and his son Travis Walter, in April of 2020.
Mike, or Dave as he was called by immediate family members (because his mother said “he looked more like a David”), was born in St. Paul, MN. His parents Charles and Fay Walter gave him an excellent upbringing living in Williams Bay, WI and Roseville MN, for most of his childhood. Dave was a good student, decent French horn player, and most of the time a good brother, despite reoccurring claims by Marty that he once slammed his fingers in a drawer.
Once leaving home, and now known to the outside world as Mike, he attended the University of Arizona, but Fraternity activities seemed to have gotten in the way. He left school and returned to the Twin Cities, where he met his future wife Karen while working at the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
He married the love of his life in 1966 and together they had quite a journey. Soon after their son Lance was born, Mike joined the Navy, serving in active duty in Vietnam, often deployed for months at a time. He moved his family, now including 2ndson Travis, from California to Rhode Island. When the time came, he re-enlisted and pursued groundbreaking new Navy training in computer programming and data processing.
After eight years of service, Mike left the Navy to pursue opportunities in the private sector which were hungry for his skills. Now living in Norfolk, VA, he chose to relocate back to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where both his and Karen’s family were living.
Mike was the backbone of his family, providing stability, wisdom and a self-reliance that came from hopscotching around the country. His career advanced into management and sent him on new corporate tours of duty in Chicago, IL and San Francisco and Orange, CA, among others. After things “slowed down,” in 2000, he and Karen moved to Madison, WI to own and operate a printing company with their son Lance for a few years before retirement.
Mike was the kind of dad who coached the baseball team, was a Boy Scout leader and played the guitar and sang in the folk group at church. He gained the respect of others through hard work and leading by example. He also never took himself too seriously and had a wicked-good sense of humor that you might not see until you got to know him.
In the past several years, he enjoyed spending time with Lance and his family and was a fantastic grandfather to Sydney and Mason, who both adored him. He and Karen always had a yard project going, maintained a beautiful home and were an inseparable duo until her passing in December. I wonder what projects Mike, Karen and Travis will be working on in Heaven?
Goodspeed to the Captain of the Walter Ship; the ship will sail on but will never be the same.
Condolences for Lance, Sue, Sydney and Mason may be directed to 3609 N. Sherman Ave., Madison, WI 53704.
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Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
2418 N Sherman Ave.
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