None of you knew my bride’s brother, Walt Gavin. You would have liked him. Walt was (how very strange and painful to use the past tense) a courageous, caring human being. My bride and I said farewell to Walt back in November as the fires consumed our home. We will never regret going to North Carolina to say goodbye.
Walt and his wife Liese visited us last April in Malibu. He was full of life. He had organized a visit to the King Tut Exhibition and the Getty Villa, and enjoyed every minute of the trip. Less than a month later, he was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Less than nine months later, he lost the battle for his life. It was not a fair fight.
Walt was one of nine siblings, the oldest of four brothers and the namesake of their father, Walter P. Gavin Sr. He had the same deep rich voice, and the same loyal, reliable, steadfast traits of his father. You could always count on Walt. He would always be there for you, no questions asked.
Walt cared for others. He hosted immigrants coming to our country from Vietnam and Moldova, and mentored children in need of love and wisdom. His heart was large, and his love for Liese, his children, stepchildren and their mates, and his six grandchildren—a seventh was born a few days after Walt passed—knew no bounds.
Walt is the first of our generation to leave us. He was a leader of the Gavin clan and never hesitated to show us the way. We will all follow his path, sooner or later. His departure is our loss and will leave a gaping hole in the fabric of our extended family. Rest in peace, Walt.