David Douglas Walter
1949 - 2020
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David Douglas Walter

30 January 1949 ~ 23 June 2020

David Douglas Walter, age 71, of Seattle and Mazama, Washington, died in Seattle of cancer Tuesday with his sons at his side. Born in Wilmington, Delaware, he was the oldest of four sons of William I. and Jessica (Allen) Walter. His family moved to Needham, Massachusetts when Dave was a young child and he attended Needham schools, finishing high school at Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut. He attended Cornell University and managed the language lab there for several years prior to moving to Seattle in 1981. Dave spent the summer of that year city-shopping, looking for a place to settle with a good climate and with less snow than central New York state.

In Seattle, Dave began his career in the computer industry. After starting in hardware design, Dave moved into software where he made significant contributions to the industry. He was one of the founders (in 1984) of Aldus Corporation, a software company that in 1985 invented the first desktop publishing program, PageMaker. In 1990, Dave became a co-founder of what became Visio Corporation and he was the technical architect of the Visio software. Its success owes much to Dave's contributions. After leaving Visio, Dave participated in several other software ventures.

While in high school, Dave worked as an engineer at a local radio station and developed an interest in electronics and ham radio. After retirement, he rekindled his ham radio operation (K1ZSA). Dave loved to 'tinker' in his electronics workshop, use his telescope, mountain bike, hike, and cross-country ski and was widely read in areas ranging from ancient history to astronomy and physics. He enjoyed opera, had an outstanding mind, and was teaching himself Latin and Ancient Greek. Dave loved watching the birds and wildlife outside his Mazama home. In his final weeks, he was glad to witness the first SpaceX launch that successfully delivered astronauts to the Space Station.

Dave is survived by his two sons, Doug and Brendon, and three brothers, Glenn (Dale), Graham (Lois) and Scott (Sabine), along with nieces and a nephew, Carolyn, Lauren, Julia, and Christopher.

Per Dave's wishes, his body will be cremated and his ashes privately spread at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to the cause of your choice, or in memory of Dave, please do something kind for someone who could use some kindness - He was a good soul and a kind man and he will be greatly missed.

Sign Dave's online Guest Book at www.Legacy.com

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jun. 28, 2020.
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10 entries
July 8, 2020
Dave and I served on the Valley School Board of Trustees together in 2013. Dave was Board President at the time, and he worked harder than all the rest of us combined (and we did a lot!). Dave laid the groundwork for many school initiatives that have come to fruition in the last few years. My deep condolences to his sons and other family members and close friends.
Victoria Mabus
July 5, 2020
Dave was a rare person, curious, thoughtful, and kind. He was very fun to talk with and I am sorry that I won't have the opportunity again. I know how devoted he was to his sons & I am very sorry for your loss.
Marilyn Nicolai
July 3, 2020
Dave was one of the smartest and kindest person I ever knew. From the early days of Aldus through the Visio years he was an invaluable friend and contributor. I will always look back fondly on my lunches with Dave in the Aldus years where I would ask him questions about physics and astronomy. He always knew the answer. I will miss him.
Jeremy Jaech
June 30, 2020
It was an honor to work with Dave at Visio. Incredibly smart yet humble and kind. He was truly interested in what anyone around him had to say. He embodied the culture of Visio and I'm grateful to have known him.
Susan Slaton
June 29, 2020
So sorry to hear about this. Our families were friends back when the kids were all in elementary school and I always enjoyed my time and visits with Dave. Such a kind and interested and interesting person. My condolences to Doug and Brendon and all close to him.
Greg Schechter
June 29, 2020
Dave was a planner. The first time I met Him was when he moved into our Seattle neighborhood. He bought the big house across the street from us. We were excited that a family with playmates might be replacing the elderly couple who had raised their family there. Imagine our surprise when we met Dave, a middle-aged bachelor! He explained that he hoped to have a family some day so he was planning ahead! Dave was a kind and generous neighbor. When my 4 year old son had a stand in front of the house, Dave crossed the street to buy a cup of lemonade. But my son was selling rocks!! Dave gave him $7, chose an ordinary piece of basalt, and went home thirsty!
Claire Terry
June 29, 2020
Dave was one of my favorite people. During my college years, I was one of the regular babysitters for the kids. Dave and I would often get into interesting and random conversations. His curiosity about the world was his spark. He was always in deep thought and learning something new. I would sometimes bring topics up I was studying just to get his perspective, which was always full of layers and deep wisdom. He added to my life in this way. I never, not once, felt like just the baby sitter - We were friends who had wonderful conversations.
Leann Hill
June 28, 2020
Dave is one of my all-time favorite people. He was such an avid and eclectic learner that there was no end of insightful conversations with him. A discussion of the Trail of Tears seemed as fascinating to Dave as a deep dive into string theory.

We know Dave a technology pioneer, I am grateful that he was also a mentor to tech entrepreneurs. Dave acted like it was his honor to "pay it forward". Something I learned from him 25 years ago and practice as much as possible to this day. Thank you Dave!

Rest in peace my friend, it has been a joy and privilege to know you.
Rowena Gates
June 28, 2020
I remember fondly my conversations with Dave while at Visio. He was smart, kind, and inquisitive. My condolences to his family. Rest In peace, Dave.
Maryann Klustner
June 28, 2020
my mother and his worked together in Philadelphia. We would visit them in Delaware, and later in Needham.
Diane Crimmins DiMaggio
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