Walter Francis Sweeney Walt, 71, of San Diego, CA , formerly of Cohasset on Feb. 2, 2013 died at his home with his children at his side. Walt achieved fame as a nine time all pro in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. He was the number one draft choice of the Chargers coming out of Syracuse University in 1963. In his hometown of Cohasset Walt led Cohasset High School to its only undefeated season in 1957 as a running back who led the league in rushing with average touchdown runs of 35 yards. Walt also starred in basketball and track. In an autobiography titled Off Guard which was published last August, Walter retells the story of a turbulent youth in Cohasset as the youngest of six boys growing up in a rowdy household where brawling and drinking were the norm. His father Jack was the victim of a tragic hit and run accident while walking home from work when Walter was only two. Walters mother Mary, who washed clothes and cleaned homes for her wealthy neighbors, tried to keep the peace at home with the help of Walts only sister, Mary Louise. In his book Walter states that we might have been rowdy and we might have been poor but we were always the cleanest kids.my mother saw to that! After his NFL career was completed Walter filed a suit against the NFL charging that he had been forced to take performance enhancing drugs during his early days in the League with the Chargers that led to a life of addiction and drug dependency. He originally won a suit against the league but that decision was later overturned before he received an extra cent. Walter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on January 14th and passed away 19 days later with friends and family at his side. When asked about symptoms of pain, Walter, who played for 13 years through multiple injuries without ever missing a game replied oh yeah, I felt something here and there but just assumed it was some old injury acting up Walter is survived by his daughter Kristin, his son Patrick and his first wife Jean, all of San Diego. His wife of over 30 years, Nanci, died of cancer last March. Private memorial services will be held by friends and family in San Diego and Cohasset at a future date.
Published in The Patriot Ledger on Feb. 6, 2013