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1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
WALTHER, Raymond John, MD Of Cambridge MA was born on December 24, 1924 in Union City, Pennsylvania, second child to Raymond Joseph Walther and Kitty Hayes Walther. Ray grew up in Union City, graduating from high school in 1942. He decided to pursue medicine and joined the U.S. Navy's V-12 program. In 1948 he received combined B.S. and M.D. degrees from Bucknell and the Univ. of Pittsburgh respectively. He enlisted in the Navy medical corps and spent two years of active duty completing his service at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston.Interested in cardiology, Ray landed a prestigious fellowship under two pioneers in Cardiac medicine; Dr.'s. Dexter and Harken at Boston's Peter Bent Brigham. He continued his training at B.U. Hospital and Boston City Hospital, mastering the cardiac catheterization procedure and he joined the staff of several Boston hospitals in the early 1950's. As a volunteer at city hospital health clinics, Ray treated patients in Boston often providing "house-calls". As a guest in patients' homes he began to appreciate the human side of medicine. He also found coaching residents, interns, and med. students to be fulfilling; an interest that led to his appointment as Assoc. Clinical Professor of Medicine at B.U. Medical School, President of the Medical Staff at B.U. Hospital and Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Boston City. Ray provided his expertise set up catheterization labs in the three main hospitals in Worcester. Ray met Joan Thompson of Salem, the summer of 1960. They were married in Salem in May of 1961. They moved to Commercial Wharf and started their family of 3 girls, then moved to Cambridge in 1966. Christ Church in Harvard Square became an important part of Ray's spiritual and social life. He spent time on the vestry and stewardship committee and always felt embraced by members of the parish and the clergy. In 1977 Ray joined the Harvard University Health Services as a primary care physician, on-site cardiologist and an advisor to pre-med students. In 1997 at the age of 72, after many patients seen and cared for over a 50-year period, Ray retired from Harvard and the practice of medicine. Upon retirement he remained active. Joan and Ray competed for 15 years in ballroom dancing winning many trophies. He was an avid fly fisherman and conservationist serving on the Board of Trout Unlimited. He tutored in the schools and volunteered at the Museum of Sci. Ray joined the Harvard Inst. for Learning in Retirement (HILR) in 1998 where he studied many of the classics, science, literature, arts and history he had missed during his acceleration through pre-med and medical school during World War II. At 75 Ray was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease; a disappointing revelation which curtailed many of his activities. With medication and determination Ray continued to pursue his many interests. He was energized by his time spent with family, particularly watching the athletic, musical and educational events of his grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 53 years Joan Thompson Walther, his 3 daughters, Robin A. Walther of Roslindale, Amy W. LaMarche of Lynnfield and Sarah W. Keeley of Hopkinton. He leaves one sister, Mary Helen Whipple of Lady Lake, Florida and five grandchildren, Matthew P. LaMarche, Renee F. LaMarche, Olivia W. LaMarche, Jonathan C. Keeley and Andrew C Keeley. A Service in Ray's honor will be held on Friday, April 29th, at Christ Church Cambridge, Zero Garden Street, Cambridge, MA at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers please donate to . Brown & Hickey Funeral Home 617-484-2534 617-547-1500
Published in The Boston Globe on Apr. 10, 2016
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