Walter Lewis “Lew” Cressler 1938~2021

obituary

Retired Army Colonel Walter Lewis “Lew” Cressler, Jr., 83, most recently of the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania died on 17 October 2021.

Walter Lewis “Lew” Cressler
Walter Lewis “Lew” Cressler

He will be missed for his sense of humor and engaging personality, as well as his honesty, his integrity, and love of family and country.

Lew was born in Harrisburg Hospital on March 3rd, 1938, to Walter Lewis “Buck” Cressler and Helen Laughlin Cressler, and was raised in Newport, Pennsylvania as the oldest of five children.

He met his wife of 62 years, Anita Lane Latham, while they were in high school. They both graduated with the Newport High School class of 1956. Lew was the valedictorian, captain of the football team, and editor of the yearbook.

He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1960 with a degree in Mathematics and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army following completion of the ROTC program. He went on to have a 26-year career as an Army intelligence officer, rising to the rank of full colonel.

His military career included two tours of duty in Vietnam, two tours of duty in West Germany, and one tour in Okinawa, Japan. He had two assignments at the Pentagon with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.

Later in his career he chaired the NATO electronic warfare database committee and led the reorganization effort of the Army’s intelligence production operations. He attended both the Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. He also earned two master’s degrees. One was in systems analysis from University of Rochester and the other was in business administration from Long Island University.

His education and experience enabled a mid-career stint as an instructor of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He received two awards of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four awards of the Army Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, and the Army Achievement Medal.

While moving from place-to-place during Lew’s military career, he and Anita raised three sons. Home life was filled with travel and adventure and engaging hobbies that often were inspired by his sons’ interests and actively involved them. At various times, they included tropical fish breeding, post card collecting, family genealogy, African violet growing, Volksmarsching, and birding.

Upon retiring from the U.S. Army in 1986, he partnered with his brother Clyde to build a durable medical equipment operation in Meadville, Pennsylvania called CressCare Medical, Inc. for four years.

In 1990, he and his wife moved to Dauphin County where he enrolled in the Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg Campus. Upon graduating in 1994, he spent the next eight years practicing family law in Harrisburg and his hometown of Newport.

After retiring from his third career in 2002, Lew dedicated himself full time to two main activities. One was racing homing pigeons, which he enjoyed while in high school and had picked up again after retiring from the Army. The other activity that absorbed much of his energy was family genealogy, culminating in a self-published book entitled “Hans Philip Kressler of Colonial Pennsylvania and Many of His Descendants, 1732-2012.” The book has become a treasured item among hundreds of kinfolk who through it have gained an appreciation of their deep Pennsylvanian and American roots.

Lew Cressler was a member of the Newport-Tennis Masonic Lodge #381; the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Valley of Harrisburg; the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Zembo Shrine Center, Harrisburg; National Sojourners Harrisburg Chapter #96; and High Twelve International.

He is survived by his wife Anita, three sons: Walt (Claire Brill), Mike (Regine), and Dana (Laurette), nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and his four siblings: Clyde Cressler (Carol), Christina Cressler Morrow (Zeke), Alfred Cressler, and Bil Cressler (Roxy).

A celebration of life service will be held Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 2 p.m. in the Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home & Crematorium Inc., with the Rev. T. C. Morrow officiating.

Burial will be in Spring Hill Cemetery with Military Honors conducted by the Oscar M. Hykes American Legion Post # 223 Minutemen.

A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service with a Masonic Service being held at 1:45 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children, P.O. Box 1525 Ransom, WV 25439.

Online condolences may be made to the funeral home’s website.


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