Walt grew up in Stockton in the central valley of California and is married to Sandra DeBella Bodley. After obtaining a B.S. in physics from University of the Pacific in 1960, he joined the US Navy as a pilot for five years, which led to his flying for TWA until his retirement in 1990. In 2004 he became a Docent at Robert Ferguson Observatory (Sonoma County, California), and in 2007 he was awarded a “Graduate Diploma” in Astronomy from James Cook University in Australia.
Among the many organizations he has joined as a member, he is a life member of the California Academy of Science, and American Forests. His broad interests have taken him to over 30 countries and all seven continents with military, airlines, volunteer organizations and as tourist. In 2008 he joined the Santa Rosa Chamber Orchestra (formerly Baroque Sinfonia) as timpanist.
Having joined numerous other Earthwatch Expeditions over the years, Walt first visited CCF Namibia as an Earthwatch volunteer in 1999. He has also been a “Beachwatch” volunteer for the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association since 1998.