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Richard Lawrence Walter

Posted By Hall-Wynne On June 29, 2018 @ 3:39 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 8 Comments

Richard Lawrence Walter died in Durham, NC on Wednesday, June 27, 2018; he was at home surrounded by loving family.

Richard was the youngest of five children, born to Marie Ann Boehmer and Lawrence Barnabus Walter on November 1, 1933 in Chicago, IL. Richard grew up in Elmhurst, IL and attended Saint Procopius College (now Benedictine University) in Lisle, IL where he was class president and valedictorian. After graduation, he moved to Indiana, where he met Carol Elizabeth Goethals.  They married on December 27, 1958. After completing his doctorate in Physics at the University of Notre Dame in 1960, they moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he was employed by the university until he accepted a tenure-track position at Duke University in 1962. He was promoted to full professor in 1974.

In addition to his teaching, Richard was an avid researcher. He secured grant funding to support his research and published findings of many of his experiments on the fundamental aspects of the nuclear force at the Triangle University Nuclear Lab (TUNL). In addition to his local research, Richard collaborated with labs all over the world including sabbaticals at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg University, Germany. Richard loved to travel and made numerous visits to China, Yugoslavia, France, and Saudi Arabia to lecture and conduct research. Richard valued the many fine physicists he met on his travels, as well as the collegiality of the 26 doctoral candidates he advised during his 43-year tenure. He retired from Duke University in 2009.

While Richard was a man of great thrift he always generously provided for his family; he was a devoted husband, loving father, and doting grandfather. A life-long Catholic, Richard and Carol joined Immaculate Conception Catholic Church upon their arrival in Durham; it was the source of some of their earliest and dearest friendships. They later attended St. Matthew Catholic Church after moving to the Homestead at Croasdaile Village in 2006. Richard was also an avid fan of Notre Dame football and Duke basketball.

Richard is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol; one sister, Rita Batt and her husband, Lourie of Las Vegas, Nevada; oldest son, Timothy Walter of Durham; daughter, Susan Walton and her husband, Jeff of Chapel Hill; youngest son, Matthew Walter and his wife, Bynum of Durham; two grandsons, Nick Walton, Zack Walton and his fiancé, Hannah Simpson, all of Charlotte; and two loving and steadfast caregivers, Jonathan Livingston and Lamin Saidywan, whose devotion allowed Richard to live with dignity at home.

Richard’s life will be honored with a Catholic mass on Monday, July 2 at 11:30 a.m. at Few Chapel, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway. Family will receive friends beforehand at the chapel beginning at 10:30. Private burial to follow at St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Duke Homecare and Hospice which provided Richard with comfort in his final year.


Condolences for the family of “Richard Lawrence Walter”

Condolence from Alfred Goshaw on June 30th, 2018 8:27 am

Please accept my condolences upon the news of the passing of DIck. I knew him for many years as a valued colleague at Duke University and a friend in helping me get settled as a faculty member in the Physics Department. I will remember him with great fondness.

Condolence from Lamin Saidywan on June 30th, 2018 10:25 am

He will be greatly missed. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Condolence from Jennifer and Michael Lynn on June 30th, 2018 10:32 am

We send prayers for all of the family. May God comfort you all knowing he is at peace and in a better place. Im sorry we will not be able to be there but we are are thinking of you.

Jennifer and Michael Lynn
Chesterfield, Va

Condolence from Katherine on June 30th, 2018 4:10 pm

Bynum and Matt,

My deepest condolences. Thinking about you and your family in this time.

Katherine Sweeney

Condolence from Phil and Margaret Lawless on July 1st, 2018 5:59 pm

I am sorry for your loss. Just in the last few days I thought of him , that last time when we saw you in Duke Hospital, and wondered how he has been doing. I had one class with him at Duke, but his continued presence at church meant a lot to me, extending beyond that teacher-student interaction. May God bless you with peace. The strife is over. The goodness goes on.

I wish I could be there for the farewell, but I have constraints.

Condolence from Barbara E. Smith on July 2nd, 2018 5:39 am

I would like to reach out to Timothy Walter & Family at this time with prayers and words of comfort. I met Timothy approximately 3 months ago as part of a business connection. I never met your parents, personally, but I did indirectly; because Timothy reflects the proof of the pudding of his parent’s legacy. May GOD bless and keep your Family under his protective wings at this time and as you journey through life.

Condolence from John C Fortney on July 2nd, 2018 1:52 pm

I grew up playing in the Walters ‘ household on Woodburn Road. Dick and Carol were always welcoming to the throng of neighborhood kids who gravitated there. In my memory, Dick was a kind and gentle soul. I remember he once saved a group of baby squirrels that had fallen out a tree in their yard and helped us try to keep them alive (at least one made it). Dick was also a generous and supportive colleague to my father in the Physics Department. I am sure he will be greatly missed by all. My thoughts are with you.

Condolence from John C Browne on August 12th, 2018 2:19 pm

I was a student of Ed Bilpuch from 1965-69 and then an instructor in physics at Duke 1969-70. I had Dick Walter on my thesis committee and he also taught me several classes. Dick was always very supportive of all the students and helped maintain a good atmosphere around TUNL. After spending time at LLNL I moved to LANL where Dick ultimately spent some time at the LANSCE facility as a collaborator/consultant. Many of his students were successful employees at LANL. I was honored to know him. My condolences to the family on his passing.

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