Roofers Local 20
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  • Walter J Smith "Smitty"
    Posted On: Feb 11, 2019

    Walter J. Smith was born on August 2, 1946 to Walter R. and Modestine L. Smith, in Kansas City, Kansas.

    His early education was with the parochial schools in the Diocese of Kansas City St. Joseph. He graduated from Bishop Lillis High School in 1966. Walter wrestled undefeated (known as Spider Man) and attended Southwest Missouri State College under an athletic scholarship.

    Walter went on to service four years in the United States Navy. In addition to medals, recognitions, and awards (including induction into the club of shellbacks), Walter was most proud to tutor sailors earning their GED.

    Upon return to civilian life, Walter was recruited by M.C. Richardson (under the Kansas City Plan) into the Roofers Local #20 Apprenticeship School to become a Journeyman. Walter became the first African American to become a Local #20 member on June 26, 1974. With a strong work ethic his employment spanned many shops in the Kansas City area. Walter lived his life with a commitment to numerous building and trade community organizations. Walter was a instructor and trainer for the Roofer’s Union, a representative of United Minority Media Association, a Building and Trades Medical Screening Outreach contact for Kansas City, and an OSHA Instructor.

    In 1977 Walter married Linda Gilbert. To their union two children, Lisa Marie, and Matthew Walter, was born.

    Walter played softball for over 25 years always wearing the number 8.  He was an avid KC Baseball fan, from the Athletics to the Royals. The KC cap was his signature attire. In addition, Walter was an avid gardener.

    Walter was fun-loving, loving, caring, and giving.  He was the best brother a sister could ask for. More importantly, Walter was a loving husband, a proud dad, and an even prouder grandpa. Walter will be sorely missed by many whose lives he touched in significant ways.

    Walter peacefully departed his life on January 15, 2019.

    Walter was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters.

    Walter leaves to cherish his memory: his wife, Linda, his daughter, Lisa , both of Kansas City, Missouri, his son, Matthew (Claudia), and three grandchildren, Matthew Jr., Maliyah, and Michael of Riverside, California, his sister, Carmen Smith of Kansas City, and a host of family members and dear friends.

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