Walter was the epitome of what it means to be a “really good guy”. We were so fortunate to have had him in our lives. Walter was a very kind, caring, and loving father or as we called him “pops” and a great husband. His core identity was to be a very responsible person. He believed in doing the right thing. The day before he died, he emphatically told us that it was tax-day (no Wally, it was the start of the 2020 election week). He had to make sure that the taxes were paid. Of all the things to think about as you are in the process of dying. As the idiom goes ‘Tis impossible to be sure of anything but death and taxes’, Walter decided it was best to conflate them. What a guy!
Walt was born in Denver, Colorado on April 27, 1927. As a child he rode his bike all over town with his friends, from City Park to Cheesman Park to Wash Park. He loved to play with his dog, Duke, in the lakes at Wash Park. Walter graduated for East High and joined the Navy in 1944 at the age of 17. He served in the Philippines at Surmar and Manicani islands. He was the Captains Talker on PCE 875, a patrol craft escort, rank of Yeoman 3rd class. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1945. He continued to serve in the Navy reserve until 1958 as an Ensign. Walter was so proud of his service to his country. When he returned from the Pacific he went to CU and transferred to Denver University, where he graduated with a degree in business. Walt lettered in basketball and track at DU. He played in Madison Square Garden and in Louisville KY.
After graduating from DU, He was one of four young men to be accepted into the prestigious Conoco Oil Management Program. He learned about multiple aspects of the oil business and eventually struck out on his own to become an independent oil producer, landman. He explored and drilled from North Dakota, to Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas. He always said at Christmas time, time to drill in North Dakota at 20 below before year end. In lean years, he would horse trade antique cars which he was very good at doing. One of his favorites was a 1948 Town and Country woody convertible. Probably his best deal was trading an interest in an oil well for a house in Bow Mar where he and his wife Marie raised four children. That decision alone set the course for the family. He lived in Bow Mar for 35 years, and has many friends from Bow Mar. He served on the town council as the town commissioner for roads (he put in lots of stop signs).
Walt was also lucky in love and married a fabulous woman Marie. They were devoted to each other. They met each other at the Conoco building in downtown Denver. When Walter saw Marie in an elevator, he asked his supervisor, to ask Marie’s supervisor, if they would introduce them. They were married in 1954, and celebrated 66 years in August. The day he died, we heard him say to Marie “I love you sweet pea” … unfortunately Marie didn’t have her hearing aids in and missed the words, but felt the love. After we told mom what he had said, she asked him if he would do it all again, without even the time to blink he said “in a heartbeat”. What a guy!
He was civic minded in general. He served as a Big Brother and was very active in that organization. He helped a little brother who would come to his office after school and do his homework. They kept in touch for many years after. He was a commissioner on the South Suburban Board and negotiated and bought the land for Harlow Park and the South Suburban pool. He would have continued with these organizations, but as his family grew, he thought best to be fully present as possible for his wife and children. Another really good choice on his part.
He was so proud to be a Coloradan. He took advantage of living in such a beautiful state. He started skiing before ski areas existed. As a young teen, his father (Dr. Walter Ohmart, Sr.) would drive him up to the top of Berthoud Pass and Walt would ski down on long heavy wooden skis. His father would drive down to the bottom of the pass and pick Walt up to do the circuit over and over. Walt shared his love of the mountains and skiing with all his children. When we were growing up Walt took many days off work to take us up skiing which was possible because he always worked for himself. Walt skied until he was 87. He only quit because it was too hard to get his ski boots on and his children didn’t want him to break a hip. Up until last year, he kept telling us, I can ski down, not a problem. He still has his ski equipment in the basement ready to go.
Walt also loved flying. He had his power and glider licenses and was instrument rated. On September 12, 2007, he flew from Centennial airport to Gunnison. He was 300 yards short of the Centennial runway when his he engine failed. He crashed his airplane next to the Meridian Golf Course between the 2nd and 4th holes. He had a choice of landing in the rough, the green or on the road. He chose the rough. He broke many bones that day. However, like everything else, he prevailed and lived to tell the tale. Walt had a persistent resilience. Marie would not let him fly after this by himself. He would continue to fly with his son Jeff and enjoyed it very much!
He was kind and always gracious. The months and weeks prior to his death he was always saying thank you. He was a very positive spirit and a delight to be with even into his last days. He lived to be 93.5. He had a good life and will always be much loved. His wife and his children will miss his physical presence but will always celebrate his spirit. He had a good life filled with love. What more can one ask for?
Walter’s wife Marie. Children; Andi (Truman) Young, Tom (Kelli), Jeff (Misty), Scott (Kori). Grandchildren; Bryan (deceased) and Krysy Ohmart, Dan and Ryan Bruno, Cody and Carly Ohmart, Gracie, Jillie, Austin and Dylan Murray-Ohmart. Great grandchild, Keely Ohmart .
A Private ceremony with the family will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Walter will be buried with friends and parents.
In lieu of flowers donations may be set to the Rocky Mountain Honor Flight, c/o Terry Garner-Treasurer, 912 W 139th Ct, Westminster, CO 80023-9357 or the Smile Train PO Box 96231, Washington DC 20090-6231.
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