Walter Petrie Holbrook
Born: April 5, 1940
Died: March 10, 2003
Walter P. Holbrook was the son of William Nichols Holbrook, ‘38 and Barbara Bigwood. He came from a long line of Yale graduates: in addition to his father, both his grandfathers, C.G.H. Holbrook, ‘11 and D.E. Bigwood, ‘07, and 2 uncles attended Yale.
Although born in Pittsburgh, Walt was the scion of one of Connecticut’s oldest families. His Holbrook ancestors were among the earliest settlers of New Haven in the late 1630's and included several sea captains during the 17th century. One ancestor was the first colonist’s child born on Long Island.
Walt prepared for Yale at Hopkins School in New Haven and also attended Hamden High School and Amity Regional High School. He came to Yale originally with the class of 1961. In February 1960 he took a leave of absence and served with the United States Coast Guard Reserve, returning to affiliate and graduate with our class.
Walt was an American Studies major. He was a non-resident of Branford College and an excellent swimmer. He was a member of the Freshman team 1957-1958 and the Varsity during the 1958-1959 season. After his return to Yale, he was a stalwart on the undefeated Branford swimming team. He was also junior manager of the Yale Newspaper Agency.
After graduation Walt joined the family business, Herrick & Cowell Company, a specialty machinery manufacturer in Hamden, Connecticut. He became president and led the business until his retirement in 2002.
Walt married Arlene Miller in 1965. Arlene has been employed at Hopkins School for many years. Walt and Arlene had 2 children, Todd, a physician board certified in family practice, who resides in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and Kristen Lynch of New York City, who was employed in marketing with publisher Harper Collins prior to the recent birth of her first child.
During their almost 38 years of marriage, Arlene reports, Walt’s favorite hobbies were swimming with the children and sea kayaking on Long Island Sound and on a lake in Maine. He was, she said, "a great husband and a great father."
Walt was diagnosed with prostate cancer 5½ years before his death. He battled valiantly and enjoyed a three-year remission before ultimately succumbing in March 2003. In addition to Arlene, and their two children, Walt is survived by four grandchildren.