Walter J. "Corky" Alberts, 84, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died February 13, 2014, in the company of his loving and devoted wife of 63 years, Dolores (Dolly) Mahfood Alberts, and his devoted son, Michael G. (Karen) Alberts. Corky was predeceased by his daughter, Leslie (Lampl) Alberts, with whom he shared a special and loving relationship until her untimely death in May 2000. Corky's parents were George "Sy" Albert and Ruth Albert of Pittsburgh, PA. Corky, in addition to his wife, Dolly, son, Michael, and daughter-in-law, Karen, is survived by five grandsons, Ross Corky Lampl, Sy Oscar Lampl, Luke Walter Alberts, Jacob Michael Alberts and Joshua Mylan Alberts; as well as his son-in-law and friend, Robert O. Lampl. His sisters, Eilene Donetto and Dolores Coppola predeceased him. He had numerous nieces, nephews, extended family, friends and admirers. Corky grew up in the Hill District of Pittsburgh with humble origins. He attended Central Catholic High School and was a star athlete. He forsook several athletic collegiate scholarship opportunities to enlist in the Army during the Korean War. He was stationed in Europe where, amongst other things, he was an all-star football player and played in the Armed Forces Spaghetti Bowl in Italy, as well as being an avid alpine skier during his enlistment. He received his GED while in the Army. Upon receiving his honorable discharge at the end of the Korean War, he returned to Pittsburgh and courted Dolly. Shortly thereafter, he was hired as a patrolman with the Allegheny County Police Department, where he stayed until his retirement in 1994. During Corky's tenure with the Allegheny County Police Department, he worked his way up the ranks from park patrolman to assistant Superintendent and acting Superintendent, simultaneously for seventeen years, which position he held upon his retirement. Corky held every position possible in the Department: horse mounted officer, motorcycle officer, hostage negotiator and escort to dignitaries. During his tenure as the acting Superintendent, Corky was instrumental in elevating and developing the Allegheny County Police Department from fundamentally a traffic and park police department to a world-class law enforcement enterprise. On his watch, the department developed its detective bureau, particularly with regard to serious crimes including homicides and other serious felony investigations. He played a monumental role in fostering a strong working relationship with federal and state law enforcement agencies. Corky also served as President of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police, both locally and statewide, as well as the Allegheny County FOP. He was the recipient of innumerable awards and citations in regard to his public service and character. He served as a lobbyist for the municipal police of Pennsylvania and was effective in procuring wage and benefit standards for police officers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In particular, he was the primary lobbyist for the creation of a state-wide pension program for police officers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Despite being the go-to guy in the Allegheny County Police Department, and attending nearly all crime scenes on a 24/7 basis, Corky was proud to say that he never pulled a gun on anyone, as he viewed policemen to be helpers, not antagonists, and ran the Department with that attitude. Corky had a particular interest in youth, empathizing with them due to his "rags to riches" rise. He was deeply involved in the Golden Gloves boxing organization as well as the Special Olympics. Corky dedicated his time and efforts to various fundraising events for breast cancer organizations following his daughter's battle with breast cancer. Shortly after Corky's retirement from the Allegheny County Police Department, he became an aide to Supreme Court Justice Ralph Cappy for more than a decade. After his daughter Leslie's death, Corky partnered up with his son-in-law, Robert O. Lampl, to raise his two grandchildren, Ross and Sy, to whom he was devoted and in constant contact. Corky and his son, Michael, were constant companions. Corky was the best of dichotomies: He was the kindest tough guy around, the most successful yinzer around and proud of it; a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend, and brushed shoulders with high level politicians, judges, business and community leaders while always going out of his way to acknowledge working people with whom he identified with and spent decades serving. Corky's best friend, Stephen Zappala, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, characterizes him as the classic rags to riches person who retained the common touch. Friends will be received at WILLIAM SLATER II FUNERAL SERVICE (412-563-2800), 1650 Greentree Road, (Scott Twp.) Pittsburgh, PA 15220 on Saturday from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., Sunday from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial Monday at 10:00 a.m. in the Church of Epiphany, 164 Washington Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Uptown). EVERYONE PLEASE MEET AT CHURCH. In memory of Corky, the family would be honored to have donations, in lieu of flowers, made to his favorite charity, Special Olympics Allegheny County, 404 First Street, Heidelberg, PA 15106.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Feb. 14 to Feb. 16, 2014