Walter
Walter Joseph Elzen September 12, 1946 - January 31, 2009 Walter Joseph Elzen, a 38 year resident of the South Bay, passed away on Saturday, January 31, 2009 in Torrance. Born in Mobile, Alabama, Walt was 62 when he died. Walt had served in the Navy during Vietnam and was a member of Bellview Church of Christ. During his career he was in construction for 20 years specializing in gunite/concrete work. The next 20 year phase of his career was in the entertainment industry working for Fred Saunders Production Services building stages, driving a forklift and was a spotlight operator. During that time, he was involved in many rehearsals and concerts for groups such as Pink Floyd, Madonna, Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Eagles, Motley Crue and U-2 just to name a few. Walt was well loved among the celebrities, Madonna used to request him personally for her rehearsals. Among his friends, Walt was also known as W.W. This stood for "Winnebago Walt" and "Wonderful Walt". The "Winnebago" came to be from W.W.'s ability to pack more stuff on his Harley Davidson than anyone else could. The "Wonderful" speaks for itself and needs no explanation . . . he was truly a wonderful friend to all who knew him. His hobbies were riding his Harley, bass fishing, drag boat racing (was a member of the Liquid Lust racing team) and he loved to shoot pool! He was captain of his team and played in a league for the Anza Inn. He was also a huge fan of the Miami Dolphins and beautiful blondes. Walt is survived by his sister Phyllis Elzen Brantley and brother-in-law Paul Brantley. He has 3 nieces, Tia Brantley McLeod and husband Eddie, Tanya Brantley Wilcox and husband Preston of Pensacola, and Tallish Brantley of Fresno. He also has 5 great-nieces, 5 great nephews and 1 great, great nephew. Walt also had many friends that were like family to him. He lived most of his life with Fred Saunders and Steve Sharp of Torrance, and there just aren't enough pages in this newspaper to name all the many friends who loved him and will miss him. The memorial service will be held at Rice Mortuary Chapel on Sunday, February 8, 2009 at 2:00 P.M. A reception will be held in Rice's Lighthouse Reception Room from 3:00 P.M. until 5:00 P.M. Inurnment will be private.

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  1. Walt you truly will be missed by all that knew you. You were always an Uncle to me, I will never forget you, but will always miss you. I hold close to my heart the time we got to spend one on one together. Skeeter

  2. Have you ever had someone in your life that was LARGER than life itself? I have! That person was my uncle Walter. Even though he didn’t live near us and even though we didn’t see him very often his presence was felt on a constant basis. He was the uncle you told everyone about, he was the uncle that did everythin and knew everyone. When he was able to make a visit his presence filled the room. Even in his silence he was fully there and everyone knew it. I remember being 10 and uncle Walter was visiting. He was on his way out for the night and wearing a pearl snap shirt. I remember him asking me, in front of my mom, “Tanya, you know why I wear pearl snap shirts?” I said, “why?” Uncle Walter then proceeded to pull open all snaps at once and say, “easy access.” Mom nearly died! No matter what, no matter hwere, I felt him in my heart and now that he is gone there is a hole that takes up his space that is LARGER than life! Uncle Walter, I miss you, I love you, and I pray I see you soon! And get this, I’ll have a tattoo in your honor soon! Don’t tell mom! 🙂

  3. Our deepest sympathies are extended to Phyllis and Paul Brantley and their family in the loss of Phyllis’ brother, Walter. We only met him once, briefly, when he stayed with his sister here in Pensacola in December. Phyllis enjoyed having him here with her even though it was only for a short time. You will be in our prayers.

  4. To the family & friends of Walter: Our deepest sympathy is extended to all of you in the death of Walter. We know that you will miss him. Our prayer is that God will comfort you during this difficult time. We love you Paul & Phyllis!

  5. In 1967, I boarded a ship, the USS Long Beach. Before I could drop my bag, guess who was in my face! At first, I didn’t know what to think. About twenty minutes later, I knew he would be my friend. Four years with this man was an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. We parted for a few years but we kept in touch – probably my best move. Around 1973, I went to California. Guess who was in my face! He introduced me to his friends. This was another wonderful experience. I didn’t understand until later that being with him again reminded me what friendship, loyalty and love was all about. I truly believe there is a good place out there when we cross over so Walt, when my day comes, I know and look forward to you being in my face!!! I thank Walt for always being there for me. I will never forget him. May God ride with you and all who have gone before us. With all my love, Dennis Patrick Murphy P.S.Thank you for always being special, Fred and Steve, and all the rest for being there for Walt. You are truly his family. He told me that – right in my face!

  6. Even though I didn’t get to see my Uncle very much, he was my favorite. I would always get excited to see him and he would make me smile every time with his greeting look. I always remembered he wore a black leather Harley Vest every time I saw him. To me he was a refreshing breeze showing me I could do anything. He was life. Carefree, live it to the fullest L-I-F-E. I will miss him dearly.

  7. He was one of the great ones and we will surely miss him and at our yearly” Fats Run ” at the Kern and the boat drags at Ming.Walt like Richard will be with us in heart n spirit always!!

  8. Hank and I met Walt many years ago, he was one of those in and out of your life friends. Every time we ran into him it was as if you’d just seen him the day before. WW always remembered stories/events that had happened years before and was quick to remind you. Yikes! Hank works at the Beverly Hilton and loved running into Walt at setups, and also on bike runs. Walt is going to be missed by so many people. God bless you our friend. Hank and Lulu Buffett

  9. I met Walt when I first came to California about 30 years ago. He was a great friend of my cousin, Dennis Murphy. He was a wonderful man who had a very generous heart. I haven’t seen Walt in years, but I have fond memories of him. He will be missed by a lot of people. God bless you Walt!

  10. I, too, am one of the lucky ones to have been considered Walts friend. Though it has been along time since I’ve seen Walt he was always there. Walt, as all who have said, was one of the most generous people I had the pleasure of knowing. You will never be forgotten. (Juggs)

  11. I didnt know Walt that well, he was a friends with my younger sisters, I met him when he, Eddie, and Murphy were in the Navy,and then later after he moved out to LA. I have to say he was the best hugger I ever knew. Walt was a big guy, he had this great big beard a huge mop of hair and a leather biker’s jacket. Whenever he would see me, he always engulfed me in this wonderful big hug. It was like being hugged by a big, cuddly, friendly, bear. I’ll never forget those hugs, ever though sometimes I was afraid he might break my ribs. Rest in peace Walt, you were one of the good ones!

  12. I met Walt while he was in the Navy and stationed in Long Beach. We remained friends for many years after he left the service and settled in the South Bay. I thought it must have been my good looks and sparkling personality that drew Walt to me but come to find out he just loved my parents! They were as southern as Walt and loved him very much. Walt and Steve even took a road trip to Lodi, California to visit them when they moved. I was NOT invited! My Pop got such a kick our of the neighbors reactions to the “bikers” showing up! When they left all the neighbors came out to get information from him about the “bikers” but all my Pop ever said to them was “Once a Hell’s Angel, always a Hell’s Angel”. Walt gave my Pop years of fun telling that story and my parents felt Walt was one of their own. I will miss him and his twinkling eyes. Kathleen Hudson Cammarata

  13. Uncle Walter I will miss you so much. I am so greatfull that you came to visit at Christmas. The kids were so excited to get to know the “cool” uncle I had told them so much about. I have so many great memories of you. Having you with us on Christmas morning will stay with me forever. I wish you were here to see the purple tattoo Tanya and I are getting so you will be with us always. I love you and will miss you greatly.

  14. WALTER WAS A GOOD FRIEND.HE WAS A LOT OF FUN.HE PLAYED POOL WITH A PASSION,AND I EVEN BET HIM ONCE OR TWICE.HE’D GO OUT OF HIS WAY FOR YOU AND DID’NT EXPECT ANYTHING IN RETURN.YOU WILL BE MISSED MORE THAN WE CAN IMAGINE NOW,SO HAPPY TRAILS BUDDY I’LL CATCH YOU LATER!! P.S.YOU SURE HAVE GREAT FRIENDS!!!

  15. Friends and Family of Walt-please know that I am there with you in spirit. Although I cannot be there with you in Torrance to celebrate the life of our dear friend, Walt, I wanted to share that I will always remember Walt coming to San Diego to take me to the Miami Dophins vs. San Diego Charger football game, the earthquake in Mammoth Mountain and storytelling afterwards at Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Kern River Runs, boat races, and most of all just hanging out at Steve Sharp’s house working on the bikes or boats. I will truly miss you, and may God bless all your friends and family. love, Michaelle, aka Cuz

  16. W.W. hey bro i’m sure gonna miss u alot, i sure wished i could made it down there for u, my most fondest memory with walt was playing pool ot the Anza inn for hours and never being albe to win against you in a game of pool, but i gave it my all and cherish all the great years of knowing you from the time i was a little boy you where there at my fathers house working on bikes and goin fishin up in kern, sure gonna miss u………lots of love allways Rick and Jackie Noriega

  17. Walt, you will be forever in our thoughts and memories. I was blessed to know you for the past 15 years and Steve for at least 30, you were like a big brother to him. Every ride we take we expect you to be there with us. POEM: I am not gone Do not think of me and weep Though I am in eternal sleep I am not gone I am the river rushing by I am the birds high in the sky I am the twinkling stars at night I am the long rider, just out of sight I am the wind in your face and the road angel under your wheel Think of me and I AM FOREVER! LOVE THE MARGESON’S

  18. I am so grateful to have met you and gotten to know you the past year and a half. Pool league nights will not be the same without you! I am so glad I got to see you before you left for Florida back in December. That car ride with you I will never forget! I will definitely miss teasing you about your training wheels when taking tequila shots! haha. Zeb and I miss you and love you. RIP Walt.

  19. We’ve all heard people say, “there are no words…..” How can anyone convey such an enormous sense of loss? Walt slipped away from us so peacefully but he’s still with us in our hearts and our minds. Like hearing the Nextel “chirp” and Walt’s voice saying, “Freddy…..ya’ home?” Or to see Ol’ Walt shuffling slowly but surely along, always willing to help where needed. Or to see his face crinkle up and with twinkling eyes he’d say, “Well I’m just tickled pink!”. And then there were Wonderful Walt’s many “words of wisdon” (we call them Waltisms) such as “work smarter, not harder” or “just back up until you hear glass break” or “just like my ol’ granddaddy used to say: ya’ gotta be smarter than the tools you work with”. Also, if you ever dared snivel about something he’d remind you that for years he had to bathe OUTSIDE in a No. 2 washtub! Walter J. Elzen was one of a kind. In loving memory of a good friend gone too soon…. Fred Saunders and Roseanna Stone

  20. R.I.P. Bro- We could all learn a little something from you. May we all ride together again, someday, like Ghost Riders in the sky…

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