Walter Gauff West, 87, passed away on December 6, 2023 in Telford.
Walter, who went by Walt, was born on February 6, 1936 in Philadelphia, PA to Ida (neè Gauff) and Edward West. He was the youngest of four boys. Walt graduated from Ambler Joint High School in 1953, where he played football. After high school, he attended National Farm College (now Delaware Valley University) for a few years, studying animal husbandry. He played football there, as well. On June 8, 1957, Walt married his high school sweetheart, Joanne Rush. Shortly after getting married, he was drafted into the army, where he trained as a cryptographer. He and Joanne moved to San Antonio, Texas where Walt served for two years. In 1961, Walt and Joanne returned to Pennsylvania and settled in Towamencin where they raised three children. In the 1960s, Walt worked at Allenwood Steel in Conshohocken, first as an apprentice and then as a Motor Inspector. In 1966, he began working part time as a police officer with the Lower Gwynedd Police Department. He became a full time officer in 1969. Throughout his 30+ year career with the police department, Walt work primarily in the crime prevention unit. In the 1970s, he also attended Montgomery County Community College, where he earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminology. Walt was an active member of the Fraternal Order of Police throughout his time on the force. On December 13, 1985, he graduated from the FBI National Academy as a member of the 143rd session. Walt retired from the Lower Gwynedd Police Department in 2001.
Throughout his life, Walt was actively involved in his community. He served with the Towamencin Volunteer Fire Company for nearly 60 years. Walt also served in the Ambler Rotary Club, including as President. Walt organized and coordinated the Phillies Youth Home Run Derby for over 40 years, serving as part of the group that inaugurated the program in Towamencin. In 2010, he was honored at Citizens Bank Park by the Phillies organization for this work. In his later years, Walt volunteered with the Shepherd’s Shelf Food Bank at Christ Lutheran Church in Mainland. When he and Joanne moved to the Telford Lutheran Home, Walt served on the board of the home and put out American flags in honor of Memorial Day.
Walt loved to watch Philadelphia sports teams, especially the Phillies. He and Joanne loved to travel, and they visited almost all fifty states over the course of their marriage, usually with their good friends Norman and Carol. Always proud to be Poppop, Walt attended sports games, music performances, horse shows, ballets, plays, graduations, and other events to show support and love for his grandchildren. In the last few years of his life, he was blessed to have Kitty to keep him company.
Walt is survived by his son, Steve and his wife, Diane, his daughter, Amy and her husband, John, and his son, Scott and his wife, Bonnie. Additionally, Walt is survived by his grandchildren: Sharon (Jonathan), Amanda (Donny), Eddie (Shannon), Sandi (Dan), Brady, Tim, Matt, Brittany, and Cody. Walt was blessed to meet five great-grandchildren in recent years: Cole, Madelyn, Lacey Jo, Caitlin, and Dylan. He was excited to find out that a sixth great-grandchild was on the way. Finally, Walt is survived by various nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, three brothers, his beloved wife Joanne, and numerous good friends.
A memorial service for Walt will be held on Saturday January 20, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church located at 2211 Mainland Road, Harleysville, PA 19438. A visitation will be held that morning in the church beginning at 9:30 and will go until the start of the service. Following the service Walt and Joanne will be laid to rest in the adjoining church cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Walt's name may be made to Christ Lutheran Church at the above address or Towamencin Volunteer Fire Company, 1590 Bustard Road Kulpsville, PA 19443.
Arrangements by Shaeff-Myers Funeral Home.