Walter DeFelice, Jr. was born April 9, 1929 in Haverhill, Massachusetts and passed away peacefully in his San
Diego home, surrounded by loved ones, on May 28, 2021. Walt spent his childhood in MA, attended Haverhill High
School and was proudly raised by his loving maternal Grandfather “Pepe” Joseph Dion. In 1947, at the age of 18, Walt
enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
While serving in the U.S. Navy, Walt earned the honor of joining the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT); aka
“Frogmen”, working primarily on Mine and Bomb Disposal and in the development of the Self Contained Breathing
Apparatus; aka “SCUBA”. He served proudly during the Korean Conflict and was named Naval Recruiter of the Year in
1964 and 1966. During his U.S. Naval career, Walt met his beloved wife, Arla Mae Henzlik and together they went on to
make their home in San Diego, CA. They had three children together: sons Garth and Mark, and daughter Kim. He retired
from the U.S. Navy in January 1967.
Upon his retirement from the U.S. Navy, Walt attended Texas State Technical College and California Pacific
University. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Technology/Safety Engineering in 1971, followed by his
Master’s in Management/Human Behavior and later his Doctorate in Business/Management. After graduation, Walt
worked for San Diego Community College District as the Coordinator of Vocational Education. In 1984, he would leave
San Diego Community College District to start his own business, Educational Systems and Training, providing safety
training for the U.S. Navy in addition to educational training at San Diego State and National Universities. Walt, along
with his wife Arla Mae, ran a very successful business for 10 years before selling the company. Walt would later go on to
work for the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Branch 9 where he served as the Secretary/Treasurer for 25 years, until his
Walt was a devout Christian. For many years, he was an active member at Christ the King Lutheran Church in San
Diego; a church and congregation that he adored. Walt loved his family unconditionally and was always there for them.
He never turned down the opportunity for a good meal with his family and friends. Walt was a charming and kind-
hearted man who enjoyed the simple things in his life: watching movies, spoiling his animals, eating sweet treats
(primarily pralines ‘n cream) and telling wonderful stories.
Walt is survived by his wife, Arla Mae; son Garth DeFelice; daughter Kim Horner; seven grandchildren, Janica
Taboga, Alicia Doyno, Nicholas DeFelice, Danielle Newberg, Kenny Mei, William Walter DeFelice, and Dillon DeFelice;
Fifteen great-grandchildren Nick Taboga, Haylie Sacco, Kira Taboga, Ashlynn Newberg, Braelynn Newberg, William
Walter DeFelice Jr., Dillon Mei, Audrey Taboga, Luke DeFelice, Charlie Mei, Julia Taboga, Oliver DeFelice, Henry Mei,
Paisley Newberg, and Natalie DeFelice; also one great-great-grandson Alexander Sacco. Walt is predeceased by his son,
Mark DeFelice and sister Carole Lanseigne.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Journey Community Church, in La Mesa on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at
11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in his honor to; Freedom Service Dogs of