Mr. Walt Sweyer, 79, of Woodland, WA, passed away on Tuesday, April 30, with his family by his side at his home near Woodland.
Walt was born on August 8, 1939 in Williamsport, PA, the son of Walter J. and Rosamond Sweyer.
Walt was a graduate of Wantagh High School, class of 1957, in Wantagh, NY. He also enjoyed many lifelong friendships from his three prior years at Solvay High School, in Solvay, NY. He furthered his education first enrolling at Gettysburg College, in Gettysburg, PA, and then transferred to Utah State University, in Logan, UT to study Forestry. Walt graduated from Utah State in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Upon graduating from college, Walt joined the United States Marine Corps and attended Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA. He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, then attended Officer Infantry Basic School. He went on to attend flight school in Pensacola, FL, training on fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Upon graduating from flight school, he went to El Toro, CA where he served as a helicopter pilot, flying the Sikorsky H-34 and reaching the rank of Captain.
It was during Walt’s time stationed in Pensacola, FL that he met his future wife of 52 years, Pat Kesterson. Walt and Pat began their married life in 1962, which led them to several places before settling in Woodland in 1966. In Woodland, Walt and Pat purchased 40 acres, established the North Fork Tree Farm and began their family.
With a lifelong love for learning, he went on to gain his teacher’s certification and taught middle school science and math for 14 years. Walt also had a very entrepreneurial spirit and transitioned from teaching into real estate, followed by a host of other business ventures throughout his professional career.
Walt thoroughly enjoyed the great outdoors. He summited several of the Pacific Northwest’s highest peaks, skied down some of their slopes and hiked in their foothills. He loved to fly and enjoyed many hours hopping in and out of Woodland International Airport (as he called it), touring people around the Woodland area as well as around Mount St. Helens before and after its eruption.
Walt and Pat loved travelling and classic cars. Together, they visited a dozen countries, toured all 50 states and were proud members of the Portland Triumph Owners Association.
His passion for forestry led to his involvement in multiple forestry associations. It was a great source of enjoyment and pride when the North Fork Tree Farm he and Pat created was recognized as the 2007 Clark County Forestry Association Tree Farm of the Year.
Walt was a big kid at heart and thus an amazing Granddad. As part of sharing his love of the land with his four grandkids, he could be found hanging a climbing rope from the maple tree, creating a zipline between large fir trees and always delivering a tractor full of fir bows for wigwam building upon their request.
Walt is survived by his son, Doug and his wife Carey; daughter Kathi and her husband Chris Berta; and his sister, Sheila Bachman of Drumore, PA. Granddad’s spirit lives on in his grandchildren, including Kelly and Meghan Sweyer and Zach and Ryan Berta.
Walt is preceded in death by his beautiful wife, Pat.
A Celebration of Life will be held at St. Philip Catholic Church parish hall in Woodland, WA on Saturday, May 11 from 2-4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
Woodland Mobile Meals
P.O. Box 482
Woodland, WA 98674