GLENS FALLS - Walter W. Grishkot Jr., 85, passed away on Wednesday, May 11, 2011, at Glens Falls Hospital with his loving wife by his side.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 27, 1926, he was the son of Anna (Jensen) and Walter W. Grishkot Sr.
Walter married Joan Winne in St. Helen's Church, Niskayuna, on Sept. 18, 1965.
Walter was inducted into the U.S. Navy on Feb. 26, 1944, during World War II. He was proud to have been assigned as photographer on "The Charger" which was a qualifying aircraft carrier used for pilots who were learning to land planes on a carrier. He was honorably discharged on June 6, 1946.
Walter was predeceased by his parents, Anna and Walter Grishkot as well as by his only sister, Doris Davies from Victorville, Calif.
Walter is survived by his wife of 45 years, Joan; as well as several neices, Holly, Barbara and Elizabeth Griffin of Niskayuna, and Catharine Abesta of Portsmouth, Va., and Margaret Harrison of Plymouth, N.C.
Walter was a professional photographer and promoter who used his skills and talents to promote tourism in and around Warren County. In 1972, he developed the Adirondack Balloon Festival in response to a request for an event, which would increase tourism in the area for the fall season. Ballooning became his passion and he served as the driving force behind the festival each year until just recently.
Walter Grishkot is best known as the organizer of the Adirondack Balloon Festival, but he also organized or publicized dozens of other events in Warren County including the American Henley Rowing Regatta in Bolton Landing in 1971; Operation Thank You which included a Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf look alike contest and ticker tape parade in Lake George in 1991; and the All-American Mutt Show at Crandall Park in Glens Falls in 1994.
Grishkot also located the 65-foot Norway spruce in Crandall Park in Glens Falls that was cut down and sent to Washington, D.C. in 1969, to be the National Christmas Tree.
He is also proud of having successfully cloned George the Monster in 2001, so that Lake George Village and Hague could each celebrate their connections with the historic hoax.
A biography is currently being written by Maury Thompson who is assisted by the staff of Behan Communications, which is expected to be completed September 2011.
Calling hours will be held Saturday, May 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Maynard D. Baker Funeral Home, 11 Lafayette St., Queensbury.
Funeral services will be private at the convenience of his family. Burial, with military honors, will also be private at Pine View Cemetery, at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, a tax-deductible donation, in memory of Walter, can be made to the Adirondack Balloon Festival Foundation at P.O. Box 883, Glens Falls, NY 12801. This foundation has been organized to promote education, scholarships and overall community interest in the aeronautical and space sciences.
Walter's wife and family would like to thank Dr. Chris Hoy and his staff, the staff of 3 B West and 4 West at Glens Falls Hospital as well as the staff of Fort Hudson Nursing Facility for their compassionate care and concern during his recent illness, and the many friends who have offered their help, support, and condolences.
Condolences may be emailed through www.bakerfuneralhome.com, or mailed to Maynard D. Baker Funeral Home, 11 Lafayette St., Queensbury, NY 12804.