Sir Walt Ratterman
February 14, 1952 – January 12, 2010
“RIP Sir Walt… you were the best of us…” - Sir Edward A Artis and Dr Sir James G Laws (Knightsbridge International)
Walter “Walt” John Ratterman died on Tuesday, the 12th of January 2010, at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the devastating earthquake. Walt was 57.
He was born on the 14th of February 1952, in Louisville, Kentucky, to Leo and Barbara Ratterman. At age 12, Walt became the CEO of Otis Painting Company in Towson, Maryland, working there until he was 18. He was a graduate and salutatorian of Towson Catholic High School and also received a diploma from the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore Conservatory of Music on the 31st of May 1969.
Upon graduating, he enrolled and attended Johns Hopkins University for a degree in engineering, then attended Arizona State University for a degree in electrical contracting, and finally received a master’s degree in electrical science and engineering for renewable energy technology from Murdoch University. During this time, he also enlisted and honorably served in the US Army Reserve from 1972-1978.
After college, Walt worked for HP Foley from 1970-1985, becoming the company’s vice president for their Alaska branch, Foley PMI. In 1985, he started TRC Electrical Construction Inc in Phoenix, Maryland and in 2004, he was one of three founders to start up SunEnergy Power International, where he became CEO in 2008 of their nonprofit division.
Walt’s true passion came in his humanitarian work. He was one of two non-Asian commissioners of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation. He worked in disaster relief for the Afghan people, making numerous trips between 2001 and 2004. He introduced sustainable energy to the newly appointed Afghan Assembly Government, appeared in the documentary by Academy Award nominee Adrian Belic’s ‘Beyond The Call’ about his humanitarian work in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Burma, and traveled to more than 30 countries for aid, relief and sustainable energy efforts.
From 1999 until his death, Walt was a member of the Knights of Malta and Knightsbridge International. In 2004, he was knighted, making him Sir Walt Ratterman. In 2003, he was commissioned a colonel by the Honorable Order of the Kentucky Colonels. Outside of his philanthropy work, Walt enjoyed playing the piano, bike riding, and being an avid reader, always reading books from the countries that he had visited. Most of all, Walt enjoyed spending time with his friends and family.
Walt is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Jeanne, at home; daughter, Briana (Mark) Ratterman of Portland, Oregon; son, Shane (Jess) Ratterman of Edgewater, Maryland; father, Leo Ratterman of Parkville, Maryland; brother, Paul (Una) Ratterman of Maui, Hawaii; sisters, Barbara (Jeff) Miller of
Freeland, Maryland; and Aimee (Jeff) Ratterman of Towson, Maryland. Not forgetting his numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, as well as Jeanne’s family, the Fords. He was preceded in death by his mother, Barbara Ratterman, in 2001.
Memorial to celebrate Sir Walt – Sir Edward brings him home.
The family requests donations, as a lasting tribute, be sent to either SunEnergy Power International to continue Walt’s vision of solar energy in developing countries, Knightsbridge International to help with relief missions, or to Solar Energy International to help fund young technicians from developing countries to study solar technology.