Walter Ratterman

  • "Walt, I love you for always and forever, I thank you always..."
    - Jeanne Ratterman
  • "Dear Paul: I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. I..."
  • "Walt was the ideal servant. He always"pushed on" keeping..."
  • "I think about you every day my friend...You may be gone but..."
    - Sir Ed Artis
  • "I knew Walt from TRC. He became a friend and taught me. not..."
    - Bob Freedman

Walter "Walt" John Ratterman died unexpectedly Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the devastating earthquake. Walt was 57.

A celebration of Walt's life will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at at Grace Foursquare Church, 717 S.E. Everett St., Camas, Wash., 98607.

He was born Feb. 14, 1952, in Louisville, Ky., to Leo and Barbara Ratterman. At age 12, Walt became the CEO of Otis Painting Company in Towson, Md., working there until he was 18. He was a graduate and salutatorian of Towson Catholic High School and also received a diploma from the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore Conservatory of Music on May 31, 1969.

Upon graduating he enrolled and attended Johns Hopkins University for a degree in engineering, then attended Arizona State University for a degree in electrical contracting, and finally received a master's degree in electrical science and engineering for renewable energy technology from Murdoch University. During this time, he also enlisted and honorably served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1972-1978.

After college, Walt worked for H.P. Foley from 1970-1985, becoming the company's vice president for their Alaska branch, Foley P.M.I.

In 1985, he started TRC Electrical Construction Inc. in Phoenix, Md. In 2004, he was one of three founders to start up SunEnergy Power International, where he became CEO in 2008 of their nonprofit division.

Walt's true passion came in his missionary work. He was one of two non-Asian commissioners of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation. He worked in disaster relief for the Afghan people, making numerous trips from 2001-2004. He introduced sustainable energy to the newly appointed Afghan Assembly Government, appeared in the documentary by Academy Award nominee Adrian Belic's "Beyond The Call" about his missionary work in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Burma, and traveled to more than 30 countries for aid, relief and sustainable energy efforts.

From 1999-present, Walt was a member of the Knights of Malta for Knightsbridge International. In 2004, he was knighted, making him Sir Walt Ratterman. In 2003, he was commissioned a colonel by the Honorable Order of the Kentucky Colonels. Outside of his philanthropy work, Walt enjoyed playing the piano, bike riding, and being an avid reader, always reading books from the countries he's visited. Most of all, Walt enjoyed spending time with his friends and family.

Walt is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Jeanne, at home; daughter, Briana (Mark) Ratterman of Portland, Ore.; son, Shane (Jess) Ratterman of Edgewater, Md.; father, Leo Ratterman of Parkville, Md., brother, Paul (Una) Ratterman of Maui, Hawaii; sisters, Barbara (Jeff) Miller of Freeland, Md., and Aimee (Jeff) Ratterman of Towson, Md., and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, as well as Jeanne's family, the Fords.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Barbara Ratterman, in 2001.

The family requests donations, as a lasting tribute, be sent to to continue Walt's vision of solar energy in developing countries; to help the Knightsbridge International Relief Missions; or to help fund young technicians from developing countries to study solar technology at Solar Energy International.

To send condolences or to sign the online guest books, please visit, and search under "Walt Ratterman Haiti Mission," e-mail [email protected] to offer stories and pictures of Walt, or visit

Arrangements are with Brown's Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Camas, Wash.

Published in Anchorage Daily News from Feb. 14 to Feb. 15, 2010
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