Walter K. Seman ’58
Walter Kiernan Seman, age 81, passed away quietly in Venice after battling a aggressive form of skin cancer (merkel cell carcinoma). For two years he endured the operations, trips to Moffitt Cancer Center, and local medical appointments with his customary good humor and quiet demeanor. He lived with his wife, Marcia, in a retirement community in Venice.
He was born in Sandy Hook, CT to William and Muriel Seman, and attended public schools in Sandy Hook and Newtown, CT. After graduating from Maine Maritime Academy as a naval officer, he was assigned to the Grand Canyon, which deployed to the Mediterranean during a crisis in Lebanon.
After leaving the navy he was employed by Gulf Oil Corporation in the New York office of the marine transportation unit as a senior engineer. During free time he occasionally joined his grandparents at Oak Beach on Long Island where they owned a cottage, and this is where he met his future wife. They married in 1962 and within three years moved to Port Arthur, Texas, starting a long journey of overseas travel to inspect oil tankers for routine drydockings, as well as assessing damage to ships caused by bad weather and accidents at sea.
A move to Antwerp, Belgium in 1967 with two small children afforded many opportunities for European travel including trips along the Rhine, camping in Austria and Spain, and a long driving trip to Greece. The children learned Flemish in the neighborhood but at age 5 attended an International School. During the gas crisis of 1974 the family relocated to Doylestown, PA, where Walter continued to work for Gulf Oil in the Philadelphia office as a senior port engineer and was an assistant scoutmaster for his son’s troop.
His engineering skills were put to work on many do-it-yourself projects which he handled easily as well as taking care of an acre of land and a big garden. Houston was the next stop but only briefly. What was not anticipated was a buyout of Gulf Oil by the Chevron Corporation and a move to the west coast where they settled in Walnut Creek. Weekends were for exploring the wine country, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.
Soon thereafter Walter took an early retirement from Chevron and the logical place to retire was Florida which they had visited often to see Marcia’s parents. Vacations followed in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL with children and grandchildren, as well as Elderhostel visits to Presidents’ homes and historic cities along the Atlantic coast. One summer they retraced the route of Lewis and Clark as much as possible. Trips to Europe were now for fun and not work-related. Walter was a Shriner and affiliated with Sahib Shrine Temple in Sarasota in the Mariners unit. He never missed a parade. He studied for and received a residential contractor’s license, built a few homes in Venice, and lived in two of them. He loved Lowes and Home Depot! Neighbors noticed that Walter was always working on a project, and they would ask his advice about their own projects. Walter was happy to oblige and gave suggestions in a soft voice and a gentle manner. A lifelong Episcopalian, Walter served on the vestry for four years, was a Lay Eucharistic Minister, and ushered for many years.
He is survived by Marcia, his wife of 56 years, daughter Linda Doremus of Little Rock, AR. and grandson Seth, and son Edward (Melany) and grandchildren Spencer, Makenzie, and Amanda Tew (Brandon) and great grandchildren Emily, Elizabeth, and Eric, all of Danbury and League City, Texas. This kind, generous, and loving man will be missed by all. If you wish, a donation to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 2900 Rockey Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607 will support its compassionate mission. Services will be held at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota on Monday, February 25 at 10:00. The final resting place will be Sarasota National Cemetery.