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Obituary: Walter V. Maloney, Retired Chief of Wakefield Fire Department, 83

The longtime Wakefield resident served the fire department for over 40 years, raised a large and loving family and loved baseball.

Walter V. Maloney, Jr., who served as Wakefield Fire Chief for 22 years, and a firefighter for 44 years, died on Friday, August 5 as a result of pancreatic cancer. He was 83.

Born in Melrose on August 9, 1927, Chief Maloney was the son of the late Walter V. and Helen (Tabot) Maloney. He went on to graduate from Wakefield High School in 1945, and attended North Shore Community College.

Chief Maloney served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Tarawa, an aircraft carrier, during World War II.

Chief Maloney served as a firefighter in Wakefield for 44 years, with 22 of those years, 1970-1992, as Chief of the Wakefield Fire Department. 

And while the fire service was a life long professional pursuit for Maloney, his family was his true focus.

“He loved chasing fires, but he also loved vacationing in Maine and was fond of our time together,” says his son Walter III.  “He loved those summer vacations.”

Chief Maloney raised a large family in Wakefield - five girls and one boy, with his longtime wife of 55 years, Marguerite E. (Donovan) Maloney. A family man, his friends said he was very involved in his children's - and then grandchildren's, and then great-grandchildren's - lives.

Maloney was also a major sports fan, with a special passion for baseball.

"He really loved baseball and even played softball as he got older," said his son. In the 1940’s he was a semi-pro baseball player with the Wakefield Merchants and also enjoyed golfing and softball. He loved watching all manner of Boston sports and was especially pleased with the Bruins performance this season. 

The navy man and long-time fire chief was a born leader. “He was the strong silent type, he was not boisterous and he led by example,” said his son.  “He was not a salesman, he was quiet and confident.”

Known by the nickname ‘Doc’, most people, including his family, thought the name referred to some kind of past medical training. In fact, he got the name after completing a course on how to fix eyeglasses and the name stuck for decades after.

Mr. Maloney is surived by his wife, Marguerite E. (Donovan) Maloney, his brother, Roger Maloney and his wife Maureen, his nephew Michael Maloney and his wife Anne and his niece Anne Lucey and her husband Paul all of Wakefield; his children, Susan Maloney Dennett of Georgetown, Maureen Maloney Jenks and her fiancée Mark Abrams of Haverhill, NH, Walter V Maloney III and his wife Tracey of Wakefield, MaryAnn Maloney Brennan of Wakefield, Michelle Maloney Pruskin and her husband Marc of Marlborough and Marguerite Donovan Maloney of Wakefield; his grandchildren, Maura Jenks of Enfield, NH, Sarah Dennett Paniagua of Lawrence, Specialist Ryan M. Jenks of Fort Drum, NY, Katelyn M. Dennett of Byfield, Jillian M. Maloney, Kelsey M. Maloney, Abigal D. Maloney, Jade M. Brennan and Morgan E. Brennan all of Wakefield and Garrett M. and Avery R. Pruskin of Marlborough; and his great grandchildren, Hayden Jenks of Enfield, NH and Christian, Julian and Cameron Paniagua of Lawrence.

He is also survived by his brother, Roger Maloney and his wife Maureen, his nephew Michael Maloney and his wife Anne and his niece Anne Lucey and her husband Paul all of Wakefield.

His funeral was held at McDonald Funeral Home on August 9 and a funeral mass was said at St. Joseph Church. He was buried at Forest Glade Cemetery in Wakefield.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the The Salvation Army, Attn: Development, 25 Shawmut Rd., Canton, MA 02021 or American Red Cross, PO Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340-2018.

tom walsh February 08, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Walter was my cousin and we all are better people having known him. I was his brother Roger's "playmate" back in the 1940's. Tom Walsh gig Harbor, Wa
Sara Jacobi February 08, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Thanks so much for sharing, Tom.

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