Bishop Walter C. Righter died at his home early Sunday morning, September 11, 2011, after a long period of illness.
Bishop Righter began and ended his priestly ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. While many will note his impact on the wider Episcopal Church as a bishop beyond the borders of this diocese, we can uniquely recall his time of youthful service, as well as years of reserved retirement, in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Entering the ministry from St. Stephen's in Sewickley, he was sent to Ligonier to help organize what would later become the parish church of St. Michael's of the Valley. After ordination, a young Father Righter led congregations in Beaver County, for a while simultaneously serving the people of Aliquippa and Georgetown.
After three years, he left the diocese to accept a call to be a rector in New Hampshire, beginning a path that would lead to his becoming the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Iowa, and later, an Assistant Bishop in Diocese of Newark.
In more recent times, having returned here in full retirement, Bishop Righter led a mostly quiet life. In his final years, he graced gatherings of retired clergy as his health permitted. While visiting him as his days dwindled, Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr. found Bishop Righter maintaining good spirits, a sense of humor, and an intense interest in news about the Episcopal Church.
In addition to his wife Nancy, he is survived by a brother, Richard Righter, of Murraysville. The bishop and Nancy shared four children: Richard (and Shirley) Righter of Keene, New Hampsire; Becky (and Don) Richardson of Urbandale, Iowa; David DeGroot (and Maryrose) of Milford, Mass.; and Katherine (and Jospeh) Gallogoy of Oceanside, New York. They also had four grandchildren.
Bishop Righter's funeral will be Thursday, September 15 at 11:00 a.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Bishop Price and all the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh join in offering their sympathy and prayers for Bishop Righter's wife, Nancy, and their family.