Shrewsbury – Walter J. Josti lived by the words of Lord Baden Powell: “The real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try to leave this world a little better than you find it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate, you have not wasted your time, but done your best.” Saturday, March 1, on a late winter afternoon in the quiet of his home, Walter died surrounded by his family. He was 67.
Born December 24, 1946 in Worcester, he was a son of Walter F. Josti and the late Jeannette J. (Miller) Josti. He graduated from North High School in 1965. Walter attended Midwestern University in Texas and earned a Bachelor's degree from UMass – Amherst and his Master's in Education from Assumption College.
Walter honorably served his country in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, where he was a member of the special operations. The faith instilled in him at a young age carried him through these four difficult years, and Walter passionately believed his fingers became his rosary and brought him home safely. On Oct. 11, 1969 in Our Lady of Fatima, he married Linda J. LeBoeuf and they have been residents of Shrewsbury since 1972.
For over 35 years, Walter taught in the Grafton School System, primarily in grades 4 and 5, retiring in 2001. He always believed in the youth of today because he knew they would be the successes of tomorrow. Retirement afforded Walt the time to teach outdoor education and travel to classrooms in different communities where he would be a Revolutionary period storyteller. Retirement also enabled him to restore a 1946 Willy's Civilian Jeep, time to work around the home he loved and in his yard, to go camping more often and enjoy virtually anything outdoors. Most of all his retirement gave him more time to spend with his family.
Walter Josti made the community a better place to live. His name is synonymous with veteran's services in Shrewsbury and beyond. A life member of the Disabled American Veterans he was Post Commander of the Ray Stone Post #238 American Legion. He was a member and instrumental force in the WWI Memorial Commission and recent dedication of the new memorial in the town's center. For years Walter organized both the Memorial Day Parade and Veteran's Day ceremonies. A member of the Shrewsbury Veterans Council he was also a founding member of the Worcester County Vietnam Era Veterans and Shrewsbury C.E.R.T. program.
In addition to his dedication to family, veterans, and the town of Shrewsbury was his love for scouting. A Mohegan Council member and second generation Scout, Walter often joked that he was unofficially started in scouting the day he was born. Officially, he joined at age eight. Walt held just about every position imaginable in scouting: council commissioner, unit commissioner, district commissioner, Scoutmaster, assistant Scoutmaster, National Camp School staff, NYLT director, NEI266 unit commissioner. Walt credited scouting for his successes in life. For years he led Cub Scout Pack 146 and Boy Scout Troop 227 at St. Anne's Church. The BSA developed a Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience course (COPE) where he was a climbing and repelling instructor.
Above all else, Walter loved his family: his wife of 44 years, Linda; his sons, Michael J. Josti and his wife Christine of Norwell and Robert J. Josti and his wife Paige of Auburn; his grandchildren, Troy, Hope, Isaac and Eliot; his father, Walter, of Auburn; his siblings, Timothy J. Josti and his wife Jean of Spencer, Daniel Josti and his wife Linda of Standish, Maine, and Mary Caramiello her husband Joseph of Auburn; and was also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will honor and remember Walter's life by gathering for calling hours Tuesday, March 4, from 4 – 8 p.m., at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors ~ The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury Center, and again at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning before leaving in procession to Saint Anne's Church, 130 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, where his funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial with military honors will follow in Mountain View Cemetery.
Memorials in Walt's name may be made to Mohegan Council Greenbar Adventure, NYLT Advance Staff Training, 19 Harvard St., Worcester, MA 01609.