Walter Svetich, 81, of Chalfant passed away Feb. 25, 2012 at home. Born Oct. 11, 1930 in Dillon, Mont. to John and Caroline Svetich, he was the third of five children. He grew up in Dillon where during and after high school, he cowboyed on local ranches. Walt enlisted in the Navy in 1950. He was a seaman on the USS Windham Bay for two years during the Korean War. After the service, he cowboyed from Montana to Mexico on various ranches.
Mr. Svetich met the love of his life, Barbara Leibfritz, and settled down at Lake Tahoe, Calif. They were married in 1960 and before long had three children. The family lived there, where he began his career with the Forest Service. He transferred to Santa Barbara where he worked on trail maintenance, as well as packing and handling livestock. In 1972 he had the opportunity to return to the Sierra Nevada and he worked in Bishop for the rest of his time with the government.
Walter is survived by his wife of 51 years, Barbara; his children, Debra Johns and husband, Mike of Smith Valley, Nev., Richard Svetich and wife, Anne and her son, Skyler of Henderson, Nev. and David Svetich and wife, Dede Auyong of San Luis Obispo; grandchildren, Richard Svetich Jr., Lacie and Mattie Johns, Lily, Rory and Brady Svetich; and brother, Joe Svetich of Colorado.
He was preceded in death by his brother, G. William Svetich; sisters, Caroll and Josephine Svetich; and a young sister who died in early childhood
Services for Walter will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Brune Mortuary.
The family would like, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the Walter Svetich Foundation to benefit the research and education for the Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory, contact Eastern Sierra Interpretive Assn. (760) 873-2411, 190 E. Yaney St., Bishop, CA 93514.