Walter Cromwell, Sr., 89

Walter Benjamin Cromwell, Sr., age 89, of Naples, Florida and West Norwalk, Connecticut, formerly of New Canaan, died peacefully on Friday, July 5, 2013 at Norwalk Hospital with his loving family by his side. Born October 27, 1923 in Brooklyn, NY, he was the son of the late Victor H. and Grace Robson Cromwell, and husband of Brigitte Seitz Cromwell, formerly of Bad Kreuznach, Germany. His one sibling, a brother, Victor H. Cromwell, Jr., pre-deceased him in 2010.

Walter graduated from City College of New York with a degree in Civil Engineering, and several years later, joined the U.S. Army as an engineer, whereupon he was transferred to Bad Kreuznach, Germany under The Marshall Plan to help with reconstruction of residential housing for the U.S. Government. Meeting “the girl next door,” a year later he married her at the local Lutheran church and, being shortly after the war, most of the town came out to see their “local girl” marrying an American! When his job in Germany was done, he moved her back to the States to begin a new life and family. Walter subsequently became one of the most successful residential builders in Fairfield County, CT, founding WB Cromwell Builders in 1954 and Colonial Homes, Inc. in 1961, of which he was President and Owner for the next 31 years, a career which saw him build over 160 homes in New Canaan and neighboring towns. He retired in 1992, but being that his passion was building, he continued to build homes in Naples, FL until shortly before his death.

Walter was a former member of The New Canaan (CT) Field Club and The Audubon Country Club of Naples, FL and was an enthusiastic supporter of the CT and National Republican Parties. He was best known for his love of family, honest straightforwardness in business, well-developed wit and sense of humor, loyalty to good friends, big heart and integrity, conservative frugality in life but large generosity to others, and pride in being an American and a self-made businessman. Once a friend with Walter, you were a friend for life. With a passion for photography and film, his one moment of “fame” came in 1946 when he was an extra in the classic movie, “Night and Day,” and met the film’s star and leading man, Cary Grant. He also enjoyed boating and travel, sparking the next generations’ passion for seeing the world.

In addition to Brigitte, his wife of 59 years, Walter is survived by his son, Walter B. Cromwell, Jr. of Wilton, CT; his daughter, Carolyn C. Wheeler, also of Wilton; their respective spouses, Julie A. Cromwell and Gregory W. Wheeler; and four grandchildren: Christopher Gray Wheeler, Lindsay Seitz Wheeler, John Robert Cromwell, and Erin Nelson Cromwell.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM at The Congregational Church of New Canaan, 23 Park St., New Canaan, CT 06840.

Interment in Lakeview Cemetery will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his memory can be made to Norwalk Hospital Foundation, 34 Maple Street, Norwalk, CT 06856 or Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, P.O. Box 489, Wilton, CT  06897.

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