Gary William Walter, 78, passed away at home Dec. 25, 2017. Gary was born to Ferd and Clara Walter (Guenthner) on May 12, 1939, in Sioux Falls, S.D. He leaves behind three children; Timothy J. (Carol) Osakis, Minn., Thomas L. (Anne) and grandchildren Bridget and Larkin, Princeton, Minn., Kristi A., Las Vegas, Nev., and beloved companion, an Apricot Poodle, Katie. Gary retired to the Peoria, Ariz., area in 2001.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents and brother Harry (Joyce) Smidt. Gary is survived by siblings James (Tish) Smidt, Betty (Ted) Morgan, Patty (Ned) Harmon. Evelyn Walters, ex-wife, and mother of Gary’s three children resides in Plymouth, Minn.
Gary began his teaching career in the mid-60s in South Dakota and retired from the St. Michael-Albertville (STMA) school district in Minnesota in 2000. Gary was a respected English teacher at the STMA middle school from 1975 to 2000. He was involved in a period of dramatic growth throughout the district. A common statement by former students was that if they only learned one thing in school it was grammar in Mr. Walter’s English class.
Gary saw great success during his coaching career that spanned five decades, coaching football, basketball, track and softball. He spent more than 2 decades at STMA High School coaching football and basketball. He was the assistant varsity football coach and defensive coordinator, winning numerous conference championships and finished as the 3A State Champion Runner-up in 1999. In 1995, he was presented with the Butch Nash Outstanding Assistant Football Coach Award. During his time as the assistant varsity basketball coach, the team won three conference championships. He was instrumental in turning both programs into winners.
In retirement, Gary enjoyed socializing with neighbors and friends in the Westbrook Village community of Peoria, Ariz. He was well known for his quick wit and engaging personality. He participated in the daily Board meetings at the Sunset Bistro and his prowess lead him to the coveted 3rd chair.
Quote by Gary: “I really loved my upbringing in Freeman and I still feel a strong emotional bond to the town and for Bertha, Kayo and Henrietta. Growing up in a small town like Freeman was good for me, more than I realized.”
Gary will be greatly missed by family, friends, colleagues and former students/athletes.