Walter Niemasik, Jr. (“Wally”), of Atherton, died on December 7, 2012 at age 64 from pancreatic cancer, surrounded by his family. A memorial service at Stanford Memorial Church will celebrate Wally’s life on Friday, December 21 at 2:00 pm.
Wally was born in New York and was raised in Storrs, Connecticut. He met Julie Ann Kaufman while teaching water-skiing at a girls’ summer camp in Maine, leading to a phenomenal marriage of 37 years.
After graduating from Wesleyan University and Georgetown University Law Center, Wally practiced antitrust law. But finding his clients’ businesses more interesting than their legal problems, he decided to retrain. In 1980, Wally and Julie moved to California to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business together, as the “class couple”. Wally pursued a career in investment management, founding a small firm at exactly the wrong time for his investment strategy. In 1986, he joined Concord Capital, and in 1989 joined Snyder Capital Management, where he rose to the position of Chairman/CEO.
Wally was also an active volunteer. He served the Stanford GSB as class agent, mentor to students, and admissions interviewer, and he and Julie received the Governors’ Award from Stanford Associates in 2012 in recognition of their long-time volunteering. In October 2012, TheatreWorks, the regional theatre, honored Wally and Julie for their many years of volunteer efforts. Wally was also active at St. Raymond’s Church in Menlo Park, where he served on the Parish Council from 2001 to 2007.
After his cancer diagnosis in February 2011, Wally was asked to join the Patient Advisory Council at Stanford Medical Center. In addition, he derived great satisfaction from advising pancreatic cancer patients, locally and around the country.
Wally was especially loved for his humility, his self-deprecating humor, his fondness for playing tennis and shopping at Costco, and his unusually strong attachment to the ’88 Camry he drove for over 20 years. He surprised himself by his love of travel to all parts of the world, after having spent his entire childhood within 30 miles of home.
Wally is survived by his wife Julie, sons Jamie (spouse Erin Ebbel Niemasik) and Thomas, and brothers William and Joseph.