Walter Christian Grantz passed away peacefully on March 02, 2018 at age 88 after an adventurous and blessed life filled with work, travel and family.
Walter was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Nov 22, 1929 to the late Walter Anton Henry Grantz and Maud Staehr Grantz. In his youth, his family traveled extensively with their father who led construction projects throughout South America. He enjoyed exploring ancient ruins, climbing volcanic mountains, and developed a love for all forms of photography and cinematography. He graduated from Cornell University in 1954 with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and took a position with Parson, Brinkerhoff, Quade & Douglas in New York, New York. His sister Helen introduced him to his future wife, Barbara. Married in 1957 they had two children, Arthur and Kathryn.
Domestically, Walter’s civil engineering talents contributed to many of the iconic seaport, bridge and tunnel infrastructure of the Eastern Seaboard including the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, both the original and Second Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnels, the Second James River Bridge, the I-95 Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, Boston’s Ted Williams Tunnel, and the second trestle for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Internationally, he completed the port expansion for the Port of Callao, Peru and many design studies for heavy marine construction projects in Thailand, East Pakistan, and Scandinavia.
A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and of the International Tunneling Association, Walter was regarded as a world expert in immersed tube tunnel construction techniques. His kids thought him cool when he moved, at age 57, to live and work in Istanbul, Turkey for the design study of an Immersed Tube Tunnel under the Bosphorus connecting Europe and Asia with light rail. Twenty years later, at age 77, they thought him crazy when he went back as part of the construction team that completed the Marmaray Tunnel.
When not working, he combined two of his greatest joys, photography and flying. Many of the classic billboard and brochure photos of the Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay Bridge Crossings are photos Walter composed and freely shared with the community. He was an accomplished instrument rated pilot, he built and flew a Rutan Long Eze and used a Cessna 172 as his photo platform.
He is survived by Barbara Grantz, his loving wife and travel partner of 60 years, his proud children and grandchildren, and tens of thousands of slides, negatives, images and meters of film. He will be missed greatly. As you read this, we are confident he is discussing structural improvements to the Pearly Gates with St. Peter.
A celebration of Walter’s life will be held Saturday, April 14th 2:00pm at Altmeyer Funeral Home, 5792 Greenwich Rd, Va Beach, VA 23462. Should you desire, the family suggests memorial donations to a college scholarship of your choice in Walter’s name.