Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chicago Democratic Party Leader Walter Kmiec Dead at 87

Walter Kmiec, 87, a one-time Party Captain and leader in the Regular Democratic Party in Chicago, died at home in Florida on May 20, 2010 following a several month effort to contain lung and related cancers. A protoge of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, Kmiec is said to have played a significant role in supplying the late-night vote cournts which contributed the margin of victory for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election, died at home in Florida on May 20, 2010 following a several month effort to contain lung and related cancers.

Walter is survived by his two sons: Warren W. Kmiec of Stoughton, Wisconsin, patient registrar, University of Wisconsin; and Douglas W. Kmiec of Malibu, California (presently U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta), Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law (on leave), Pepperdine University. Both sons were at their father’s side as he passed gently from this exile in the early morning hours. Walter is survived by seven grandchildren (Amos and Zachary) and (Keenan, Katherine, Kiley, Kolleen and Kloe; and one great-grandson, Robert Jackson Turner).

Walter was pre-deceased by his wife of 60 years, Beatrice Evelyn Neumann of the Neumann family of Milwaukee and Green Bay Wisconsin.

Walter is also survived by his daughter-in-law Carolyn Keenan Kmiec and two sisters, Bernice Gordon of Chicago and Wanda Lapidus of Hoffman Estates, Illinois and his sister-in-law Genevieve Dillberg of Clearwater, Florida. A sister, Antoinette, and two brothers, John and Stephan, preceded Walter in death. Walter was the fourth child of Jan Kmiec and Mariana Bryg Kmiec of Chicago.

Walter was a long-time member of Saint Pascal’s Parish in Chicago and an officer of the Holy Name Society; Fourth Degree, Knights of Columbus, Saint Patrick Council, Chicago; a graduate of Chicago Technical College (1954), Walter was an electrical engineer by profession with the Edison Company and the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago, until his relocation to Stonehedge Park in Tarpon Springs in 1979.

Walter died 55 years to the day of his honorable conclusion of service in WWII with the B17 bomber group, earning the distinguished air medal and oak leaf clusters for 35 air battle campaigns in the general air defense of western Europe, including Normandy.

Published in Chicago Tribune on May 23, 2010