Jo-Ann Walter, mother of Riverhead town supervisor, dies after long illness

Jo-Ann Walter, 69, of Coram, the mother of Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, died Saturday morning, April 7, 2012, at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital following a long illness. Ms. Walter had been hospitalized since last summer when she became ill on a North Pole-bound cruise.

Besides her son, Ms. Walter is survived by her husband Michael and children James Walter of Flanders, Patrick Walter of Rocky Point and Katie Walter of Port Jefferson and seven grandchildren.

Ms. Walter developed pneumonia and she was on a respirator for much of the last eight months, Sean Walter said. “It’s been a very long road and I know she’s in heaven now,” Mr. Walter added. He described the last many months as a “very, very difficult time with many frantic telephone calls” from his father as his mother’s health declined.

The family’s Roman Catholic faith sustained them during the difficult months, Mr. Walter said. Prior to her death, he was able to read her scriptures, he said.

Ms. Walter had been moved among hospitals and nursing homes since last summer when she became ill, her son said.

His mother “never had time to work,” Mr. Walter said, because she was “the consummate volunteer.” She ran a soup kitchen, a food pantry, was a member of the Rosary Society and active with a birth rights organization as well as many other community groups, he said. She loved children and was devoted to her family, he commented.

“She did love to shop” and she also collected porcelain dolls, the supervisor said.

Visiting hours are on Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the O.B. Davis Funeral Home, 4839 Nesconset Highway, Port Jefferson Station. A Mass of Christian burial will be offered on Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. at St. Gerard Majella, 300 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station. Burial will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.