Walter Lincoln Wagenhals of Monterey died from a massive heart attack on September 3, 2019. He was born to Frances Durning and Howard Blaine Wagenhals on June 29, 1934, in Dayton, Ohio.
Walter grew up in Upper Arlington, Ohio, and graduated from Upper Arlington High School and from the University of Washington in Seattle, which he attended on a Naval ROTC scholarship. He belonged to the Theta Chi fraternity. Walter served three years as a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. In 1962 he graduated from the University of Colorado Law School, where he received Order of the Coif.
Walter was the City Attorney of Boulder, Colorado for ten years (1968-78) where he was the primary author and proponent of the Colorado General Assembly's Colorado Mall Act. Walter's work and this legislation established the foundation for Boulder's vital Pearl Street Mall, which was dedicated in 1977. He was also instrumental in instituting Boulder's greenbelt program, which protects surrounding lands from development. After his service as City Attorney, he worked in corporate real estate law and then entered private practice in Lakewood, Colorado.
He retired from the practice of law in 1998 and he and his wife, Patricia, moved to Monterey, where he was active in the Democratic Party and the Aguajito Oaks Community Association. Early in his retirement, he complied detailed family histories. A prolific writer, Walter also enjoyed writing letters to the editor of the Monterey Herald and a self-published book sharing his thoughts about life. He published a blog and various newsletters, and he loved to write letters to his family and friends.
Walter was a gifted athlete. He excelled at golf until age caught up with him; he had fallen in love with the natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula during annual golfing vacations to Carmel. He was also a long distance runner who transitioned to walking as he grew older; he delighted in his regular walks with his friends. He took great joy in nature and in gardening—he loved to plant seedlings and watch them grow to become majestic trees. Especially as an older man, he rejoiced in life's simple pleasures—things like the absolute beauty of flowers or the fun of finding rare black raspberries at the farmers market. The greatest joy of his life was spending time with Patricia, his beloved and loving wife of 60 years, and his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
Walter married Patricia Garver on April 24, 1959. He is survived by Patricia and their daughter, Ann Wagenhals, their son-in-law, Peter Chen, and their grandchildren, Andrew, Grace, and Eleanor Chen. Three siblings (Frances Wagenhals Bradford, Lois Wagenhals Sanders, and Howard Wagenhals) predeceased him.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Heart Association or the Parkinson's Foundation.
To send flowers to Walter's family, please visit our floral section.