March 13, 1935 - September 3, 2019
Born in Salinas, California
Resided in Salinas, California
After graduating from Salinas High School, he went on to Hartnell College and obtained an AA in Art. Walter was in the Army Reserves for a brief time, but was honorably discharged as he had three children under the age of 18 months with his first wife Sue Appling. As a talented amateur artist and illustrator, water colors were his most enjoyable medium. With three children, he began his career first as the mail clerk for what was then called “Grower’s Container.” His artistic abilities were quickly recognized and he was promoted to Sample Maker for the sales and marketing group. Because of his strong work ethic, coupled with his imaginative design capabilities, he was promoted to a job in sales and marketing. During his 45 year career, at the same facility, he designed, marketed and sold more than one billion Wet-Lok vegetable containers. Co-founder of the Wet-Lok “Millionaires Club,” he hosted 32 annual award presentation dinners which were held each year by the company to recognize customers who had purchased in excess of one million Wet-Lok containers. He was dubbed by colleagues and friends as “Mr. Wet-Lok” prior to retiring in 2001.
Walter was a past president (local chapter) and life sponsor of Ducks Unlimited, raising thousands of dollars for the preservation and conservation of North American wetlands. He owned and operated his own wetlands, “the duck club” in Los Banos, CA, for many, many years and encouraged youngsters to participate in the junior hunts held annually. He was also a member of the following organizations: Audubon Society, California Deer Association, California Waterfowl Association, California Wildlife Federation, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Ventana Wilderness, local chapter, and the Elks.
Walt and his beloved wife of 31 years, Patty, shared their love of the outdoors by hiking, skiing, playing tennis, gardening, hunting and cooking ducks. They also enjoyed numerous cruises and trips together. Patty had one prerequisite prior to marrying Walt: “I will learn to hunt, if you learn to snow ski.” At the age of 52, ski he did. Many of their happiest moments were spent skiing and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, Walt cherished the times that he spent hunting birds and bucks with his boyhood hunting buddies: Gary Harris, Merv Anderson, John Vear, Ron Kienbaum, and Mike Micheletti. He also held a special place in his heart for his younger pals: Brad Dickison and Bill Jones.
Walter was preceded in death by: Art and Shirley Hughes, (parents) and granddaughter Nicole Harrison. He is survived by his wife Patty, his sister, Rosalie Meyer (Ron), and his three children; Vann Hughes, Nathen Hughes (Nuch) and Natalie Harrison. He is also survived by his four grandchildren; Dean Hughes, Alessio Hughes, Raiel Smith, Abram Smith, Ashley Harrison and numerous nieces and nephews.
He will be remembered for his sense of humor, honesty and integrity in both his professional and personal life, and his love of the outdoors. He had a zest for life, loved his friends, his family, and enjoyed training his Labrador Retrievers. He also loved his cherished rat terrier, Speedy. Walt will be truly missed.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Compass Church, 830 Padre Drive at 2 PM on Saturday, October 5th, 2019. There is also a reception at the Club at Crazy Horse Ranch, 475 San Juan Grade Road at 4 PM.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that donations be made to: Stanford Research Development Services, Bladder Cancer Research, P.O Box 20466, Stanford, CA, 94309-0466, California Waterfowl Association, 1346 Blue Oaks Blvd., Suite 100, Roseville, CA 95678, Monterey County SPCA, 1002 Monterey Salinas Hwy, Salinas, CA 93908 or Compass Church, 830 Padre Drive, Salinas, CA 93901
Salinas, California 93901
Salinas, California 93906
Stanford, California 94309-0466
Roseville, California 95678
Salinas, CA US 93908
Salinas, CA US 93901