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Walter Rothenheber


72, died unexpectedly at his home on December 14, 2007. Born, raised, and educated in Troy, NY, he was son of the late Nicholas and Barbara Neudecker Rothenheber. He received his elementary education at St. Lawrence School and secondary education at LaSalle Institute where he graduated with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. While at LaSalle, he played football, swimming and tennis for four years. Following graduation, he received a swimming scholarship to Manhattan College and enrolled in the School of Physical Education. While at Manhattan, he swam and played water polo and tennis for four years and during his junior and senior years, was captain of the swimming team. He was a member of Phi Epsilon Kappa and the National Education Honor Society. He graduated from Manhattan with a B.S. degree in Physical Education. During and after college, he was an Army reservist, attached to the 77th Infantry division, Military Police, for eight years, following which, he was honorably discharged in 1959. He then received a masters degree from New York University in administration of physical education, health and recreation. In 1956, Walter took employment with St. Mary High School in Greenwich, CT where he worked for 35 years. He served as the school's athletic director for 25 of those years and taught various subjects and coached football, basketball, baseball and swimming. The latter sport for which he was most recognized. As a highly successful swimming coach, Walter founded the St. Mary's H.S. Boys Swimming Program compiling a lifetime career won-loss record of 186-119 and eight consecutive Westchester private parochial high school championships. In 1975, he founded the girl's swim program at the school. Walter also coached summer country club swimming programs at the Milbrook Club in Greenwich, CT where he produced 10 consecutive Fairfield County championship teams from 1959-1968 and the Newfield Club in Stamford, CT where he produced two more championship teams in 1971-72. Walter founded the highly successful Shark Swim Team in 1972, which produced many state, regional, junior national and Olympic sport festival champions as well as numerous national, Olympic trial and world championship qualifiers. His men's and women's Shark teams, from 1967 to 1985, combined, won twelve state level championships and eleven runner-up titles. Many of Walter's swimmers went on to be collegiate champions, team captains and some followed him into the ranks of coaching. In national recognition of his accomplishments, Walter was selected as coach of the 1979 East team for the Olympics sports festival at Colorado Springs. He was one of the founding members of the Connecticut Swimming Association. Other recognitions include 1985 and 1986 Connecticut Swimming Coach of the Year, 25-year service award from the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association and in 1985, became a level five coach of that same organization, the highest-ranking coaching level in the United States. In 2005, he was inducted into the Greenwich Aquatic Hall of Fame. He resigned from the Shark program in 1989 and in 1991 retired from St. Mary High School. More recently, he was employed by the Orienta Beach Club in Mamaroneck, NY as manager of all outdoor sports activities and lastly at Burning Tree Golf Club in Greenwich as the course starter.

He is survived by several cousins and dear friends.

Funeral Mass on Friday at 10am in the Church of St. Margaret Mary Church, Homestead Street at Western Avenue, Albany, NY with burial to follow in St. Mary's Cemetery, Troy, NY. Visiting hours are on Thursday from 5 until 8pm at the Doran Funeral Home, 9 South Lake Avenue, Troy, NY. Memorial donations, in Walter's memory, to the Greenwich Aquatic Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund, c/o YWCA, Boston Post Road, Greenwich, CT 06830.
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