Hans Walter, age 88, of Lutz, Florida, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2023, at home, surrounded by his family.
Born August 27, 1934 in Bremen, Germany, to Margaret and Martin Gawronski, Hans grew up in the midst of WWII and was determined to make a better life for himself. He joined the Merchant Marines at 16 and travelled the world before settling in Baltimore, Maryland.
It was in Baltimore that he met the love of his life, Betti, and they married in 1958. In April they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Hans was smitten with Betti and loved telling stories of how they met and how he kept other suitors away.
Hans was always on the go, not one to be sitting or not doing a project. And if the project was to be completed in 3 weeks, he had it done in 2.
Hans worked as a door-to-door salesman, constantly winning awards. In 1969, he decided to become his own boss and bought a 18-wheeler truck hauling cars. His CB handle was the Flying German and his wife Betti Her CB handle of Avis (because she tried harder), accompanied him on many trips to deliver cars up and down the east coast. He even taught Betti how to drive the truck.
In 1972, they move to Essex, Maryland, a beautiful waterfront property that kept the couple busy with boating, fishing, and crabbing, and hosting parties almost every weekend in the summer months. Hans was always up for a beer or a gin and tonic, and always making sure his guests were having a good time.
Hans was also well known for his smoked mackerel fish. People came from the surrounding states to buy Hans’ smoked fish. That “hobby” kept him busy for many years.
Hans was active in the German community, working at many festivals and events. He also served as vice president of the Baltimore Kickers. He was a founding member of the Baltimore Skat Club which was active from 1982 until 2020. The German card game Skat was one of his favorite activities and he participated in tournaments in Las Vegas, the Catskills, Boston, Philadelphia and Austria.
Hans was a great handyman. He and his wife and daughters completed many renovations and improvements. Aside from being a home handyman, he was also a great mechanic, having learned the trade in Germany before leaving for the sea. His wife and daughters could always count on him to “fix” something in the house or on their cars. He also had a small handyman business with a friend.
Hans was the father of 2 daughters, Margie also of Lutz, Florida and Sandra Lewis, who predeceased him. Sandra gave him 2 grandsons, Alex and Dalton, both of Baltimore.
Hans loved travelling. They made numerous trips to Germany to see family, other trips around Europe and lot of cruises with friends. Betti’s family in Hoechstadt, Germany, were truly family to him and he loved being spoiled by his sister-in-law Monika Scheer, as well as his brother-in-law Anton and the rest of the family. He felt at home in Hoechstadt.
He and Betti had a large group of German friends in Baltimore and were constantly socializing and volunteering their time for the German community. In 2015 they moved with their daughter Margie and her husband, Brendan to Lutz Florida where they enjoyed the sunshine, staying active in the neighborhood and walking around the community lake. Hans enjoyed sitting out front in his garage greeting all the neighbors.
Hans is survived by his wife Betti, daughter Margie (Brendan) Kelley, grandsons Alex and Dalton (Marrisa) Lewis and Daniel Kelley, brother- and sister-in-law Anton and Monika Scheer of Hoechstadt, Germany, as well as many, many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews who loved him, both in the US and in Germany.
Aside from his daughter Sandra predeceasing him, he is also predeceased by his brother Martin, and sisters Edeltraut and Erika. T
he family will hold a celebration of Hans’ life at a later date.