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Walter Shawlee II

Walter SHAWLEE II, 1949-2023 – Walter Shawlee II, as he said to tell the world, died with stunning inconvenience. More specifically, he passed away in Kelowna, BC, on September 4, 2023. Born in LA to Hollywood actress Joan Shawlee and artist Walter Shawlee, he is survived by his wife Susan, daughter Rosanne, son Walt, sister Angie, and niece Sydney.

Studying engineering at the University of California – Los Angeles, his life was filled with many adventures as an electronics engineer, teacher, entrepreneur, and slide rule aficionado. Long before he eventually settled in Kelowna, BC, Walter and Susan were married in Halmstad, Sweden. They would later immigrate to Canada, making multi-year pit stops in Vancouver and Prince George.

It was in Prince George in 1979 that Walter and Susan founded Northern Airborne Technology, an avionics and R&D company, which would later relocate to Kelowna. This was not without its difficulties, and Walter would be the first to sing the praise of every individual who ultimately made NAT successful. Avionics equipment that NAT produced for aircrafts is still flying today, and standards that Walter developed at NAT became global industry standards. Walter’s life spanned countries and businesses, and at each stage was deeply enriched by the incredible people who joined in his exploits.

After transitioning NAT to new owners, Walter founded Sphere Research Corporation, which set the course for 30 years of enthusiastic research and development, test equipment metrology, and slide rule preservation.

During his many years as a business leader, Walter dedicated himself to the development of future generations, chairing the BC Science Council, and mentoring young people on working in STEM fields as a teacher for OUC. His innovation, creativity, and charity have left a lasting mark on the world far beyond the borders of the city he settled in, and his work is still keeping the skies safe today.

Many thanks and much gratitude to the people who fearlessly participated in his hobbies and business escapades, and who were his comrades throughout. The Shawlee family extends their deep gratitude to all those people who supported Walter during his final days.

Condolence Messages
  • Oct 27, 2023
    I have always respected this man as he was so supportive of the abilities of my man gave him a job that lasted many years. My grandkids still where the little NAT t-shirts that susan gave to the children one christmas after relocating to Kelowna, This world has lost a great man . Thoughts are with you susan and your family. - Denise and Ron Vaselenak
  • Oct 06, 2023
    I remember Walter for his unending patience and mentorship as I took a side-journey into vintage electronics. It quickly became clear that the man behind the electricity was multi-faceted, not only in an intellectual plane but also a personal one. I believe the world is slightly worse off for his passing, but much better off for his influence over the last 7+ decades. - Kerry McKenzie
  • Sep 17, 2023
    Susan, Rose and Tuffer, I was stunned to read tonight of Walters passing. No words can express the impact of losing a loving husband and father. The void left is beyond measure. Let the tears flow for now and eventually laughter will replace them as you remember the fun times.

    Big hugs, Jan C

    - Jan Cooper
  • Sep 14, 2023
    A song to send off my old comrade Walter


    Blest, you may now look on thee, oh, your native land,

    And gladly greet thy pleasant pastures;

    Now, you lay your pilgrim's staff aside to rest,

    For, faithful to God, you have completed your pilgrimage on this good Earth.

    Through penance and repentance you have propitiated

    The Lord, whom your heart serves,

    Who crowns your repentance with blessing,

    The Lord to whom our song goes up.

    The Lord to whom our song goes up.

    The salvation of pardon is granted the penitent,

    You will walk today in the peace of the blessed.

    Death hold no fear for us

    Therefore will us praise God now and forever.



    Eternally, for all Time

    The Pilgrim's Chorus, Tannhauser

    W a g n e r

    Fare thee well, old friend, we will one day meet again , in a realm of light, beyond pain, beyond disease, indeed beyond time, where there is no loss, only LOVE, whete LOVE rules all reigns supreme for eternity - Foo Cheow Ming, Singapore
  • Sep 08, 2023
    I am sorry to hear of Walters passing. My condolences to Susan and family.

    Marilyn - Marilyn Loelke
  • Sep 07, 2023
    I did not know him, but I have read enough to know that this world is a better place because he was here. I am grateful, and offer my condolences to Susan and family. - Brad McClarren
  • Sep 07, 2023
    I was very surprised to learn of Walter's unexpected illness.

    I have bought a few parts from him and he was very pleasant and helpful in our e-mail correspondence. Even though we have never met, I will surely miss him.

    My deepest condolences to Susan and his family. May he rest in peace. - A. Punnett - Toronto
  • Sep 06, 2023
    My deepest sympathy to you, Susie, and family, for the generous, larger-than-life man you lost. Walter has been an enduring figure in my life since 1984, when he shared some time in his busy schedule to pass along career advice, technical knowledge, encouragement, and naturally for him, parting gifts to a starving student. Later, I was pleased to discover that Walter was teaching my Transducers course, and he gave me top marks for completing a weather station design project. NAT finances were tight before the company hit the world stage, and he apologized that he couldn't offer a summer job, but promised when I completed university he would find me a permanent position. True to Walter's promise, he hired me then and guided me with genuine interest during 22 years with the fantastically successful company he founded. He was always willing to throw resources and money behind the craziest engineering projects we devised, and sometimes his faith in us was even rewarded with profits. The smallest triumph was worth celebrating, and because Walter liked to celebrate something as simple as Friday, we all became slightly overweight from pizza and birthday cake and doughnuts, but the profit-sharing plan was always welcome.

    From that time until now, we had connected frequently by phone or a walk-and-talk through the labrynthine Sphere Research while sipping a favourite drink and reminiscing. Walter would be left with a smile, and I would usually leave thankful with the obligatory unsolicited parting gift of some unique widget. We were overdue for a visit this summer, and I am going to miss that opportunity. I will order a venti hazelnut latte this week, and remember the kind soul who gave a kid a chance when opportunity was in short supply. Rest in Peace, my friend. - Kent Horie
  • Sep 06, 2023
    This saddens my wife Becky and me, but I know from chatting with Walter two weeks ago that he was struggling with his illnesses. He was one of my favorite places to obtain slide rules back in 2000 before forming the International Slide Rule Museum in 2003. My deepest sympathy to Susan, Rosanne, Walt, Angie, Sydney and family at Sphere Research. He leaves a vacuum in our lives. - Michael Konshak - Michael Konshak ISRM Curator
  • Sep 06, 2023
    I never met Walter, but I wish I had. He was well known and well liked in the world-wide electronics and slide rule universes. His Sphere web site was a marvel of inclusive utility. Walter will be fondly remembered and greatly missed. - Jim Adney, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Sep 05, 2023
    We at the post office send our deepest condolences.we are so sorry.ilys - Ilys lang
  • Sep 05, 2023
    Walter Shawlee II: Brilliant mind. Kind hearted. Mentor to many. Always the best quotes. Loyal friend. Eccentric in the best possible way. Master of sarcasm. Ruler of The Slide Rule Universe.

    He will be greatly missed. - Don Turri
  • Sep 05, 2023
    Dear Susan and family, I have been left speechless by the news of Walter's passing. I have long considered both you, Susan and Walter, to be two of the warmest people that my son and I have known in our years here in the Kelowna area. Our thoughts are with you in the difficult days ahead. -- Jim and James Tanner - Jim and James Tanner
  • Sep 05, 2023
    Many enthusiasts will be mourning Walter's passing. He was one of a kind. If it wasn't for him, I may never have finished building my first Tesla coil! I offer my sincere condolences to the family.

    - Quinten Clark
  • Sep 05, 2023
    Dear Susan, Rosanne, Walt and family,

    I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of your beloved Walter/Dad. My heart breaks for you all and my heart goes out to you all. I am very grateful to have known Walter, a truly lovely human. And I am thankful to have been blessed by his kindness, care and humour.

    And what a tremendous legacy as articulated in this beautiful tribute. His gifts to the world truly live on.

    My love and my prayers to you all. You are all remembered with gratitude and cared about. God Bless you each one, Love Suzie

    - Suzie Docherty
  • Sep 05, 2023
    Not too many of us left who grew up with vacuum tubes.

    Good bye my friend. - Graham Maguire
  • Sep 05, 2023
    Walter will be sorely missed among the slide rule and calculating collecting community as he was very well-known for his strong personality and for his wonderful site which contains a multitude of rules and a great deal of information about them. He was a good friend to our international collecting community and to the Oughtred Society in particular, in helping us get the word out about our collecting organization and our website. Our most sincere condolences to Susan and his entire family. Bob De Cesaris, on behalf of the Oughtred Society board and membership - Robert De Cesaris
  • Sep 05, 2023
    I am very sad to hear that Walter has passed. My deepest condolences to Susan and family. Walter was instrumental in fostering a great appreciation for electronics and furthering my work in the field. I will always remember him fondly.

    Jonathan Enoch - Jon Enoch
  • Sep 05, 2023
    a true Kelowna icon .Walter was an inspiration to many . Sad to see him go ..but his legacy will live on. We miss you Walter - The Interior Electronics Staff