Walter Thomas Supina

June 6, 1901 – October 5, 1979

(by his children – Walter, Dolores, Louis, Robert, Paul)


Walter was born June 6, 1901 in Pest, the Christian side of Budapest, Hungary.  Although they were Slovak, his parents went to Devenyns Falu Hungary where they earned a living as managers of an apartment building.

At the age of four he left Devenyns Falu, Hungary with his mother Johanna and two siblings, Rudolph and Elizabeth. They traveled from Hungary to Bremen, Germany.  On July 10, 1905 they departed Bremen aboard the Kronprinz Wilhelm as steerage class passengers. They arrived at Ellis Island in New York on July 26, 1905.  Line 25 of the ship’s manifest shows Walter’s name to be Balint.  I think “V” was pronounced as “B” and Walter is the English “translation” of Valent.

 Upon arrival in the United States, the family of four joined Tamas Supina in Lyndora, Pennsylvania where Tamas was living with his brother Joseph.  Walter then moved with the family from Lyndora to McKees Rocks, a suburb of Pittsburg, Pa.  From McKees Rocks Walter moved with the growing family to Ashford, Connecticut where his parents started a turkey farm.

 Walter attended school at a one-room school about one mile from the farm.  He attended this school up to the sixth grade when his education ended so he could work on the farm.

  As a young man, Walter (pop) worked in Stafford, CT.  At the age of 19 he needed a job and heard that a man “down the road” was looking for an apprentice.  “Do you know Morse Code?” the man asked Walter.  “Today I don’t but tomorrow I will!” responded Walter.  He got the job and started his adventure in radio  and later moved to New York City where he was employed working on the then-emerging field of radio.   Pop told me that he built radios for other people.   One man came to his apartment to pick one up and saw/heard Pop’s radio.  He wanted to buy it, but Pop said it was not for sale.   The guy offered $100 so Pop sold it to him.

 While working in New York City, Walter  met Madeleine Bolecek and on the 26th of July 1930 they married.

 The young couple took up residence in East Hartford, CT, later Manchester CT*.   Walter was employed by ChanceVought Aircraft in Hartford..  Walter, Madeleine and their children Walter, Dolores and Louis moved to Pine Lake (Between Bayshore and Babylon), Long Island NY where he continued employment by Chance Vought Aircraft.  He also worked for Grumman and Seversky.  One day he went to work for one company, and came home employed by another.  (When a company lost a contract, many of the employees went to the company that won the contract)

 When an opportunity presented itself, Walter started employment with the U.S. Navy as an aircraft mechanic at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  While he continued working at the Navy Yard, Walter and family moved to Pine Hill or Clementon NJ**, Runnemede, NJ and then to Glassboro NJ where they purchased a small farm. 

 Days were spent at the Navy Yard and on evenings and weekends Walter would be out in the fields with his horse “Pal”. 

 In 1945 Walter was transferred to Johnsville Naval Air station.  It was at this facility that the Navy started design and production of the Gorgon.  The Gorgon was the United States entry into the race to space.

While he was working at Johnsville, there was a explosion while testing the Gorgon engine in the “blockhouse”. Walter was severely burned rescuing one of the other employees.  He spent considerable time in the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia.

  Walter commuted from Glassboro to Johnsville for many months until, if memory serves me correctly; he rented an apartment and came home on weekends.  Tiring of this situation, in 1946 Walter and Madeleine bought a small farm and moved to Penns Park, Pa. only a half dozen miles from Johnsville. 

 After working in Johnsville for a short while, the Navy once again transferred Walter to the Defense Industrial Supply Center in Northeast Philadelphia where he worked until he retired in 19??

 Walter (pop) was a kind and gentle man.  I never heard him say an unkind word to or about anyone.  One of the most impressive characteristics was his self-control.  The strongest word anyone ever heard coming from  him is “SHUCKS”.  In spite of being poor and often having to borrow money from office workers or friends, Pop was the most optimistic person I’ve known and always maintained a sense of humor.

 Pop was a “Jack-of-all-trades”.  He could do carpentry, plumbing, auto mechanics, painting, music composition, poetry, plow a field with a horse, care for the family cow, gardening…you name it!  As a husband and father he went to extraordinary lengths.  One example – he actually stuffed himself up above a fireplace firebox dressed as Santa.  When all his children had been awaked to see Santa arrive, he dropped into the firebox.

 Walter instilled in his children the concept that “…if another man can do it….so can you… maybe not so good the first time…but neither did he the first time”

 With almost all of his time spent raising a family, tending a small farm and a working a full time job, Pop still had time to focus on creative hobbies like writing song lyrics and inventing games – a pocket card game. and useful devices like a kitchen flour dispenser and a percolator to prevent milk from spilling over while boiling. He also invented 'squarbles'...large marbles with 6 flat sides with numbers and letters.  Unfortunately, he did not have the funds to actually get the patent.  He was enrolled in the National Songwriters Guild on November 9, 1963.

   Walter died in his sleep on October 5, 1979


Walter Naturalization Certificate

Walter T Schoolhouse

Walter (late 20s)

Walter in D.C.


Walter's Memories Part 1 (audio 44 min.)


Walter's Memories Part 2 (audio 43 min.)


Walter's Memories Part 3 (audio 32 min.)



Recording by Robert Supina


Walter Retires

Walter's Poem - A Vision


Kronprinz Wilhelm

Portable Card Game

Milk Percolator




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