December 5, 1916 - January 12, 2013
Resident of San Jose
Departed to be with the Lord January 12, 2013, in Santa Rosa. Born December 5, 1916 in San Jose, he attended San Jose schools and San Jose State University, and became a celebrated home-grown success. At San Jose State Walt played varsity football, basketball and baseball. He was captain of the 1938 football team. That year he married his childhood friend and beloved sweetheart Frances Gibson, whom he had "walked to kindergarten." Immediately upon graduating, he was hired as head baseball coach. He served as a Naval officer in World War II, and at the war's end he resumed his teaching and coaching career. In 17 years as head basketball coach he had 251 victories; the 1950 team was ranked 17th in the nation. Today the SJSU basketball court bears his name. He coached golf also, and the 1948 team won the NCAA championship. He chaired the Physical Education Department. He was respected and beloved by his players and fellow coaches. He said, "The wins and losses were important, but the most important thing was the opportunity to work with so many people, and the friends we made." He remembered the names of his players long after they graduated and into his old age.
Walt had a steadfast Christian faith. He was a leading member of Westminster Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, and served many years on the local board of Young Life. He is appreciated for his integrity, kindness, generosity, and easy-going manner. He was grateful for his life and wrote: "In retrospect I find I have been blessed with every possible good fortune from the day I was born."
He is preceded in death by his wife Frances and his sister Doris Enman. He is succeeded by his daughter Sandra McPherson of Davis and son Bill McPherson of Rohnert Park, by grandchildren Phoebe Carlile, Amanda Lawlor, Jesse McPherson, Harmony Suess, Peter McPherson, and Molly McPherson; and eleven great-grandchildren.
He will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be at Oak Hill Mortuary, 300 Curtner Ave San Jose, Saturday January 19 at 1:30pm; interment immediately following. Viewing will be available that day 10:00 to 1:00.
Contributions in Walt's honor may be made to San Jose City Team, to Mount Hermon, or to a
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jan. 17, 2013