In 1978 Bill Ismay hired Walt Stoddard as Sahuaro’s first Campus Monitor because there were more and more non-students coming on campus and a monitor was needed. Walt took on the job with quiet enthusiasm. Walt was soon tagged to organize and manage the “Stage Crew”, a student organization that operated the lighting and sound equipment for all sorts of programs and productions in the Egbert Auditorium. When an equipment manager was needed for the athletic department Walt, again, stepped up to the plate and provided the service Sahuaro needed.
Walt’s rapport with the students was great. He could get the results needed from the kids without a lot of hassle; he never seemed to have to raise his voice or go on tirades to accomplish his mission. There was never any question about his authority or the respect that the students had for Walt.
When Walt retired in 1989, it wasn’t long until he was asked to come back half-time to continue working with the kids. In 1994, at age 70, they finally let him retire for good. In addition to his regular duties the teachers asked Walt to lecture their classes about meteorology and to prepare lessons for them. He also tutored students in math and science on his own time. He always said “there aren’t any bad kids at Sahuaro”
Before coming to Sahuaro, Walt had an extensive career, which included:
- Athletics at Hastings on the Hudson High School
- A Navy Pilot in World War II.
- Volunteer service in occupied China where he provided weather forecasts for the Pacific Fleet.
- A meteorologist for the US Weather Bureau, which included weather and patrols in the Atlantic.
- Did daily briefings on the weather for NBC, which were used on the “Today Show”.
- Spent 19 years as a lecturer for the US Merchant Marine Academy, the New York Maritime Academy, Coast Guard Boating classes, and various public schools.
- Was the Port Meteorologist for the New York and New Jersey Ports representing the US Government for all foreign and domestic shipping using these ports. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in averting weather-related shipping disasters.
- Wrote many articles on weather for various media.
- Served the U.S. Weather Bureau for 35 years.
- Was Commander of his American Legion Post.
- Coached American Legion Baseball.
- Chaired the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund for Litchfield County.
In 1946, after his tour of duty in WWII Walt went back to school and in 1948 he married the love of his life, Julia Donaldson, who died in 1998. Walt and Julia had two daughters, Judy and Jeanne; and two grandsons, Wally and John.