John W. Walter of Manhasset passed away on Jan. 5, 2018 from a year-long battle with cancer. Born to William and Elizabeth Walter on April 17, 1934, in Queens, John grew up in Hollis and moved to Manhasset in 1958, where he lived for almost 60 years until the day he died.
As a teenager, John attended St. Paul’s High School in Garden City and Admiral Ballard Academy in Connecticut. After high school, John graduated in 1955 from Norwich University in Vermont with a BS in Business Administration and in 1960 from Columbia University with an MBA. In between undergrad and graduate school, John served for two years in the army as a second lieutenant and was stationed during non-war time in Heidelberg, Germany.
After graduating, John parlayed his love of engineering and systems into spending a lifetime working in communications, technology, security systems and construction up until a couple of months ago. He began his career working for the Trump Organization where he spent most of his adult life. An inventor and holder of patents, John worked for Teleprompter in the 1970s and then began his own company, National Security Systems, which produced and installed alarm systems using the liquid foil window striping patented by him, along with the security panel and system from his design. Throughout the years, while still running National Security Systems, and using his knowledge of systems, John worked with the Trump Organization on a variety of hotels and apartment buildings in New York City, Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
When they moved to Manhasset, John, his parents and his uncle built his parents’ retirement home, but shortly afterwards, John’s parents both passed awa, leaving John the house. At that time, he began attending the Congregational Church of Manhasset as per his mother’s request. It was there that he met his wife of almost 55 years, Joan Smith. After a very short courtship, they were married in 1963 and then began their years of service and dedication to the town while raising their three children, Christy, Nancy, and Cindy. It was at the Congregational Church where John spent most of his time, singing in the choir, attending the young adult group, Couples Club, attending family camp in the 1970s, chairing the boards of Trustees and Deacons many times, helping to keep the church running with his systems, electronics, and construction knowledge, singing in a gospel quartet, and conducting and creating music for the handbell choir over the years. Until the end, the Congregational Church was his second home.
Education was always extremely important to John and Joan, and they both spent many hours volunteering in the Manhasset Public Schools where their girls and later all of their seven grandchildren attended. Most recently, John was a member of the CEC Building
Committee that planned the renovation of the schools that is currently underway and almost complete. He also served on other building committees and the CEC for finance, advising throughout the years. John was also instrumental in working with the administration to solve the traffic problems at Munsey Park School during pick-up times. Together, they made the lower lot of the Congregational Church a place where parents could park and then walk to pick up their children instead of parking in the streets and blocking other traffic. An astronomer by hobby, John brought his telescope to Munsey Park School a few times to show the children amazing solar and planetary happenings over the years. And, while his girls were in school, he worked at many Halloween parties and their Senior Frolics. He even consulted and lent a hand at his first granddaughter’s Frolic in 2014.
In addition, John’s life of service benefited the greater Manhasset community. He was the mayor of Flower Hill for eight years and on various village committees and truly loved serving the village, balancing its budget, being instrumental in widening Manhasset Woods Road and refurbishing Flower Hill Park.
He joined the Manhasset Civic Association a few years ago due to his interest in local government which, to him, was where he could actually make a difference. Over the years, John was involved in the Creedmore Chapel Commission Board following in his mother’s philanthropic service there. Always supporting his wife, Joan, who was on the board of Adventures in Learning and Community Mainstreaming Associates, John always showed his generosity to each organization.
John is survived by his wife, Joan, his daughters and sons-in-law, Christy and Bob Weppler, Nancy and Jim Kiley, and Cindy and Rod Frey, his grandchildren, Catherine, Sarah and Lauren Weppler, Emily and Matthew Kiley, and Connor and Aidan Frey along with his brother and sister-in-law, William and Susan Walter, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. John, with his incredible dedication, innate work ethic, problem solving skills, knowledge of almost anything, caring personality, and strong heart will truly be missed by all those who knew and worked with him.
Donations may be made in John’s name to Adventures In Learning and The Congregational Church of Manhasset Memorial Fund. Both may be sent to The Congregational Church, 1845 Northern Boulevard, Manhasset, NY, 11030.