Walter E Schortmann passed away at Westerly Hospital on Thursday January 21, 6 days shy of his 94th birthday. Born in Providence and raised in Cranston, he was the son of Edward C Schortmann and Emma Louise Crandall. He was a proud descendant of Revolutionary War Major Ebenezer Adams. He is predeceased by his much loved sister Lucille Baker, brother Arthur Schortmann, second wife Jeanne Macalister and first wife, Virginia Day, daughter of the Hon. Edward W Day and Madeline Reagan.
Walt spent the summers of his youth working on the family dairy farm and enjoying Plum Beach.
He enlisted in the Army Air Force during WWII and served with honor. After the war, he
returned to RI to resume his studies. He graduated summa cum laude from both Brown University and Harvard with degrees in Chemistry and Physics. He was then recruited as a member of the first class of nuclear engineers at the Oak Ridge School of Technology, studying under Alvin Weinberg. His work there on peaceful uses for atomic energy was submitted to the Geneva Convention.
Walt’s patentable inventions were sought after around the world, but wanting to remain near RI, he worked for the US Atomic Energy Commission, Union Carbide, Combustion Engineering, and then at other companies in the Northeast, primarily as a VP of Research and Development. He proudest inventions were of a breathable, non-porous hospital gown material (“PPE”), and a fail-safe to prevent the meltdown of a nuclear reactor.
Walt’s retirement allowed him to enjoy his passions for golf, tennis, ice dancing, swimming, traveling and spending time with his family. He continued to invent and research scientific theories. In later years, Watch Hill Beach became the focus of many enjoyable summers. He loved his coffee milk, Del’s lemonade, RI clear clam chowder, Wickford bakes, lobster right off the boat from Point Judith, the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and RI ladies everywhere.
Many heartfelt thanks to Westerly Hospital Med/Surg 3, Hope Hospice, and the Apple Clipper for their devoted care to a great Dad.
Walt is survived by his daughter, Martha Malone, grandson Andy Malone, sister-in-law Martha D Quinn, brother in law James Cahill, 5 step-children, many step grandchildren and nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved dearly. He will be forever missed, and yes, he really was ‘always right about everything’
Memorial contributions can be made in Walter’s name to the Hope for the Warriors at https://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/ and the United Service Organizations (USO) at https://www.uso.org/
Funeral services will be held privately at the convenience of the family.
For online condolences, please visit www.buckler-johnston.com
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