Walter A. Secor (1916 - 2008)

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Walter Allen Secor, 92, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008, at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. He was born to Allen D. Secor and Maggie Reese Secor on Bozeman on May 7, 1916. He graduated from Gallatin County High School in 1934.

On Aug. 31, 1941, he married Nellie Jean Vanderschaaf in Bozeman; she died in 1993.

Walter began his newspaper career with the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in 1936 as a printer's apprentice. After four years of mechanical work, he transferred to the newsroom. Following a year of defense work as a civilian in Hawaii during World War II and two years in the Army serving in the South Pacific, he returned to Bozeman in the editorial department of the Chronicle and was subsequently named editor. In 1966, he became the publisher of the paper. His newspaper career spanned more than 40 years.

Walter was a contributing citizen of Bozeman. He was elected to the Bozeman City Commission in 1950 and in 1952 he became the mayor of Bozeman. He served on the committee for the Chamber of Commerce which was instrumental in bringing the 16th International Rally meeting of the Wally Byam Caravan Club to Bozeman in 1973.

Walter was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and also a member of Masonic Gallatin Lodge 463. He held membership in the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and joined the Riverside Country Club in 1962. He was a member of the Museum of the Rockies, the Gallatin Historical Society and the Disabled American Veterans.

One of his hobbies was square dance teaching and calling for several years. He was an avid outdoors man and sports fan. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, golf, bowling and skiing.

His companion and wife in his later years was Mary Heist Secor, a retired educator, who he married on Jan. 2, 1998.

Survivors include his wife, Mary; two sons, Gary of Fargo, N.D., and his wife, Sharon (Mathers), Ritchie of Great Falls and his wife, Marilyn (Ott); stepsons, Marty Heist and wife, Susan Yamagata, Jerry Heist and wife, Kim; and stepdaughter, Laurie Heist Francis; one sister, Nelva Secor Sears; and sister-in-law, Norma Secor of Bozeman; four granddaughters, Jen (Dan) Nelson, Molly (Ryan) Secor-Turner, Laura Secor and Emily Secor; four great-grandchildren; six step-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Nellie Jean; an infant daughter; brothers, Leonard, Lyle, Tom and Lester; and two sisters, Aldeen Barry and Margaret Skerritt.

A time of remembrance and celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the Secor Endowment for Journalism Education Fund, c/o the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, P.O. Box 1190, Bozeman 59715; or to the Walter A. Secor Memorial Fund at Community Health Partners/Gallatin Community Clinic, 126 S. Main, Livingston, MT 59047.
Funeral Home
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 587-3184
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 14, 2008
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