The son of Esther and LaForrest Hall, he was born Jan. 6, 1920 and raised in Dorchester. He taught himself to sing, dance, and play the drums and trumpet.
At Boston English High School, he became a track star who won the first race he entered and set state records. As an 18-year-old freshman at Boston College, he broke the world's record in the 45-yard high hurdles. After transferring to Tufts University, he anchored their relay team when they won a national championship at the Penn Relays. He remained devoted to Tufts all his life, actively working in fund raising and alumni events.
Graduating from Tufts in 1942, he went directly into an officer training program at the Coast Guard Academy. As the skipper of a Coast Guard patrol boat, he directed an attack on a German U-boat off the coast of Florida. His navigational skills led to an important assignment when he was put in charge of constructing the then top secret LORAN radio towers along both coasts of the United States. He was overseas in the Philippine Islands when WWII ended in 1945.
He met Barbara Ann Maddison at Tufts and married her in the Tufts chapel in 1943. After WWII, they moved to Portland, and later Falmouth, Maine when Walter was a traveling salesman for Hallmark Cards.
He was active in Rotary, the Masons, and he often served as a lay preacher. True to his family's maritime heritage, Walter loved to sail a variety of slow but lovable sloops in Casco Bay, Maine. In 1962, he changed careers and helped raise money for colleges such as Colby, the University of Chattanooga, Columbia University, and Bentley. When he finally retired in 1986, he was living in Northborough, and served as the executive director of the Massachusetts Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Walter especially loved musical theater and revues in which he could ham it up while singing and dancing. He enjoyed singing with Sounds of Concord Barbershop Chorus, the Senior Strutters of Sudbury, and the Westborough Community Chorus. He was particularly dangerous when he had a portable microphone in his hand, joining in sing-a-longs at his senior community even in his final days.
After the death of his wife, Barbara, he married Jean Stearns Amadon of Sudbury in 1992. They traveled frequently and particularly enjoyed staying in Linekin Bay on the coast of Maine until Jean's death in 2011.
He is survived by his children, Heather, Alan, and Kristin; three grandchildren, Aaron Drummond, Gabrielle Hall and Danielle Hall; and six very spirited great-granddaughters.
Services will be held Saturday, April 13, at 11:00 a.m., at Trinity Church, 23 Main St., Northborough. Burial with military honors will follow in Howard Street Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the scholarship in his name for post high school education at the Trinity Church, 23 Main St., Northborough, MA. 01532.
To share a memory or leave a condolence for the family, please visit www.haysfuneralhome.com.