Northborough – Walter Hamilton Whenman passed away in the morning of December 30, 2023 at the age of 96, in Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Northborough, after a period of declining health followed by an unexpected health event which he could not recover from.
Walter was born on December 15, 1927 in Worcester, the son of John H. Whenman and Maxine (Monroe) Whenman. Walter grew up in Worcester, moving to Shrewsbury in 1959, and residing in North Grafton since 1998 to his time of passing.
He met his beloved wife, Jean Shirley (Daignault) Whenman, in Youth Fellowship at Central Church in Worcester in 1945, Jean and Walter were married at Central Church on September 13, 1952. Jean passed away on February 15, 2018 after a long journey with Alzheimer’s disease. Walter leaves behind their three children, Annette Rebovich and her husband Frank of North Grafton, Craig Whenman and his wife Constance (MacDonald) of Auburn; and Charlene Rischitelli and her husband Marc of Shrewsbury. Walter also leaves a legacy of six grandchildren: Cassandra (Whenman) May; Krystyn (Whenman) Pastor and her husband Giovanni; Joseph Rebovich and Joe’s significant other, Kiera Steyne, who Walter liked to call his adopted granddaughter; Allison Whenman; Jack Rischitelli and Evan Rischitelli; as well as four great-grandchildren: Alexander Kade; Elizabeth May; Giovanni Pastor, Jr.; and Lorenzo Pastor. He is also survived by his sister, Nancy Hunnewell; his nephew Roger Hunnewell and his wife, Andrea (Bruun); and niece Jane Hunnewell, and many cousins.
After graduating from Classical High School in Worcester in 1946, Walter served in the U.S. Army in Nara and Osaka, Japan. His military service qualified him for the GI Bill, and he spent two and a half years studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) before starting his career as a draftsman in 1949 at Riley Stoker Corporation, and then spent about six years working at various small electronics companies in and around Boston.
Walter spent eight years working at Raytheon’s Bedford Airport plant; five of those years he commuted from Shrewsbury. He then took a job at Rice Barton for a short time, to be closer to home. Walter changed careers from design drafting to engineering/computer programming, while working at Morgan Construction Company for 23 years.
At MCCo, Walter went back to WPI and took classes related to his profession while working in the computer programming field. Combining these classes along with credits WPI gave him for working in the field of study, he was awarded with a Bachelor Degree from WPI. He was very proud to achieve this. After accepting a severance package from Morgan Construction Company in 1989, he worked for a few years as a computer programmer at Metcalf & Eddy.
After his retirement, Walter volunteered at Alternatives Unlimited in Whitinsville where he used his computer skills to both assist the organization, and in working with adult clients supported by the organization, which he enjoyed.
In his younger days, he owned a motorcycle, buzzed around in an MG sports car, was a fan of Formula One racing, and went to Red Sox games with his father. He liked telling his family and friends how he saw Ted Williams and other baseball legends play at Fenway Park.
Walter loved spending time outdoors camping, fishing, hiking and cross- country skiing. He was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). One of the highlights was various hiking trips in the hut system of the White Mountains.
He was proud to say he climbed Mount Washington several times, with Jean and his children in tow. Some of the fury of Mother Nature was experienced during some of those hikes and camping trips!
Walter and Jean enjoyed having their grandchildren, nephew, niece, and many friends visit them at their seasonal camping sites at Lake Ivanhoe in East Wakefield, New Hampshire and Pine Acres Family Camping Resort in Oakham, Massachusetts. Family and friends shared many memorable camping trips in tents, tent trailers and RVs to the White Mountains, Cape Cod, Maine, Vermont, down the East Coast to Florida, and Canada which included an RV trip to Lake Louise/Banff National Park in 2008. In celebration of their 50th Wedding Anniversary, Walter and Jean drove their Roadtrek RV out west where they visited many beautiful locations including Glacier National Park in 2002. Walter continued to highlight these trips as a couple of favorite RV adventures.
Walter was a lifelong meditator and consistently dedicated himself to his spiritual study and disciplined practice. One of his favorite phrases, which he would often state is, “Be Still, and know…” He practiced this and instilled this in the many people whom he talked with about this spirituality.
To respect Walter’s wishes, a private family graveside service will be planned for the Spring.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: the Alzheimer’s Association, https://www.alz.org/; Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, MA (https://boundlessway.org); or New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA 01505, https://nebg.org/. Water and Jean were members of Tower Hill and enjoyed visiting to take walks. After Jean’s passing, Tower Hill became the perfect place for Walter to gather and visit with family and friends.
Chiampa Funeral Home of Shrewsbury assisted the family.