TEWKSBURY – Walter Joseph Deputat, age 93, the founder of Tewksbury Funeral Home, died peacefully on Saturday morning, May 16, at Lowell General’s Saints Campus, after a brief illness. He was the beloved husband of Gloria A. (Roux) Deputat, with whom he had celebrated their seventy-third wedding anniversary this past March 18.
He was born on the family farm on Princeton Street in North Chelmsford, in July 1921, the last of six children of the late Walter John and Teofila (Serwicka) Deputat, and was raised in North Chelmsford. He graduated from Chelmsford High School, and enlisted into the U.S. Army Air Force. While in Bombardier training in Arizona, his “warbride” joined him and they were married in Tucson. He was assigned to the 322nd Bomb Group in North Africa, and served in Libya, Tunisia, Sicily and Italy during the campaign to liberate Italy and Europe. He was awarded many medals and citations, including a Presidential Citation, Air Medal, six Oak Leaf Clusters, and finally the Distinguished Flying Cross, after being credited for fifty missions over occupied Europe in B-24 “Liberator” Heavy Bombers. Upon early discharge from the Air Corps, he returned to Tewksbury, and using the G.I. Bill enrolled in the New England Institute for Funeral Service. After working in several Lowell funeral homes, he with the tireless support of his wife, Gloria, opened the Tewksbury Funeral Home in 1957.
Walter gave freely of his time and treasure to the community, as a Charter and Life Member of the Tewksbury-Wilmington Elks Lodge, 2070, a Charter Member of the Tewksbury Lions Club, a Charter Member of the former Tewksbury Businessmen’s Association, and was a former member of the American Legion Post 259, the V.F.W. Post 8164, the Fr. Coppen’s Council Knights of Columbus, the Tewksbury Golden Age Club, and the Tewksbury Veteran’s Association. Professionally, he was a former member of the Massachusetts and National Funeral Director’s Associations. He was awarded the Melvin Jones Award by the Tewksbury Lions Club, was honored to have been the voice of the “little guy” on the Board of Advisors to the Former BayBank of Massachusetts, and recognized by the Senate and House of Massachusetts for his many accomplishments during his lifetime upon his retirement in 1983.
He loved to golf, experienced a “hole in one” at Dodgertown G.C. in Vero, enjoyed entertaining at the “camp” on Big Island Pond in Atkinson, NH, loved Bridge at the Community Center at Rockridge in Vero, and would choose American Chop Suey over Lobster or Steak every time. He loved every minute spent in the company of his family, and was known for his long conversations, and unusual insights into all things, big or small.
He and Gloria retired to Vero Beach, and later Sebastian, Florida, where they resided for twenty-five happy years, returning to Tewksbury six years ago due to advancing years and health issues. Through successful bouts with several forms of cancer to double amputations due to diabetes, Walter maintained an independent spirit, keen sense of humor, and most importantly his sharp mental faculties until his passing on Saturday. He touched many lives in a positive way, and his family is grateful for the outpouring of love and the support expressed by friends and colleagues since his passing. Walter said he “had lived a full and blessed life,” and was ready when God called.
Walter was a communicant of St. William’s in Tewksbury, Holy Cross in Vero Beach, and St. Sebastian’s in Sebastian, FL.
Besides “the bride,” Gloria, he leaves three children, John and his wife Roberta (Pace-Nocco) Deputat, Gail Anne Graham and her husband Ret. Dept. Fire Chief James J. Graham, and Joel and his wife Deborah Ann (DiCiaccio-Fee) Deputat all of Tewksbury; nine grandchildren and their spouses, Michelle (Graham) and Jason Guthrie of Atlanta, GA, James “Jay” and Katie Graham of Reno, NV, Dennis and Kara Graham of Tewksbury, Julianne (Graham) and Evan Morse of Groton, MA, Joseph Deputat of Tewksbury, Michael and Nikki Deputat of Manchester, NH, Christopher Deputat of Tyngsboro, Lisa Nocco of Tewksbury, Steven and Jannine Nocco of Tyngsboro; fourteen great grandchildren, Graham, Garrett, Gabriella, Isabel, Finn, Quinton, Keegan, Lochlan, Sawyer, Emma, Cassie, Molly, Kyle, and Kristine; sister-in-law, Elaine Stephens of Chelmsford; brothers-in-law, Victor Roux and Eugene Roux and Ann all of Tewksbury; many nieces and nephews; and was predeceased by his brothers and sisters and their spouses; Isadore and Eleanor Nawossa, Edward and Jennie Deputat, Sophie and Edward Olasz, Blanche and Philip Collins.
Visiting hours Friday, May 22, from 3 :00 until 7:00 p.m. in the Tewksbury Funeral Home, corner of 1 Dewey and 975 Main Sts. (Rte. 38) TEWKSBURY CENTER, Ph. (800 in MA or 978) 851 2950. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in St. William’s Church, 1351 Main St. (Rte. 38) Tewksbury. Please meet at church on Saturday. Burial will follow Mass with Air Force Honors at Tewksbury Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Mass Lions Eye Research, P.O. Box 314, Tewksbury, MA 01876 or the Tewks-Wilm Elks Charities, 777 South St. Tewksbury, MA 01876 or the charity of donors choice will be appreciated. visit tewksburyfuneralhome.com ARRANGEMENTS ARE AT TEWKSBURY FUNERAL HOME