Walter Joseph Gajda Jr. passed away Saturday January 21, 2023 in Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Rahway NJ. He died of complications of a hospital acquired infection contracted at Mount Sinai Morningside in Manhattan after cardiac bypass surgery.
Walter was born on June 8, 1942 in Adams MA. He grew up in North Adams, MA and attended St. Joseph’s High School there. He credits the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, who provided eduction at St. Joseph’s High School, for encouraging him to attend University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN where he received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. From there, he earned a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston MA. He then returned to the University of Notre Dame as a professor of electrical engineering. Walter became Department Chairman of Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) in Rolla, MO in 1986 and subsequently was promoted to the Chief Academic Officer (Provost) of that institution. He was a math whiz and inveterate traveler.
Walter was predeceased by his parents, Walter Joseph Gajda Sr. and Helene Roy Gajda and brother-in-law Donald Westall. He is survived by his wife, Laura, and daughter, Jacqueline, of NYC, daughter, Colleen Gajda, of Vermont, and son, Thomas Gajda, of South Bend Indiana; sister, Cheryl Gajda Westall, of Williamstown, MA, brother, Thomas Gajda (Cathy) of Naples FL; nieces Nicole Westall (Daniel Trombley) Jackie Westall Draper (Mark) Jamie Gajda Blair (John) and nephew, Matthew Gajda (Brittney Hampton) as well as a host of grandnieces, grandnephews, and cousins. Walt is also survived by friends: Joe Hibey, Robin and Patty Pickup and their children Nate, Jaiden and Jasmine, Sister Maxyne Schneider, Steven Schaefer, David Hicks, Dorota and Natalia Hicks, Dorothy and David Harris, Niall Raithel-Owens, and all of Walt’s classmates and friends who sent cards and letters the past few months.
Special thanks to all the friends at Richmond University Medical Center for their support, and to Laura’s sister and brother-in-law Sandy and Sanford Kaiser for their love and kindness.
A celebration of life and internment will be held in early May 2023 in Adams, MA, and a service a memorial celebration will be held in Staten Island NY in the near future.
Memorial gifts are requested to: Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, 577 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104.