US Navy veteran who was an artist, business owner and tennis player

WAKEFIELD — Walter Franklin Williams died at age 88 at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital on September 7.

Walt was born in Church Hill, Maryland, on February 25, 1935 and lived his early life in Greensboro, NC. He leaves behind his beloved wife of forty years, Denise Donarumo (Pantano) Williams, devoted daughter Mandy Pantano Apgar of Whitman and his loving granddaughter, Grace Apgar.

Walter attended the School of Design at North Carolina State College and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Art. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1954 and served for four years, with an honorable discharge. During the Korean War he served as a Signalman First Class on the USS Philippine Sea throughout China and the Pacific.

He began Williams Graphic Services in 1967 in Wakefield and ran the business for forty-two years as president until retirement from Williams and Partners in 2009. Walt’s interests were many and varied, from nature and travel, painting and sculpting, to golf and tennis. He was a talented artist and a member of Boston North Artists, a group of professional artists on the North Shore. His great loves were painting and tennis and he painted until losing his sight to macular degeneration several years ago. He loved hiking in the New Hampshire mountains and spent vacation time for many years on Sanibel Island and Naples, FL. He was admired by many friends and colleagues for his always positive view of life and especially for his genuine kindness.   

Family and friends are invited to gather in honor of Walter’s life for a visiting hour at Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose, on Friday, September 22 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and for his Service of Remembrance at 11:30 a.m. For online tribute or directions, please visit