Walter G. Cogswell was born on December 6, 1937, in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence P. Cogswell. He attended Noah Webster Elementary School, and graduated from Watkinson Preparatory School in 1955. Walter attended Hartt Music School where he did a double major in Viola and Organ. He obtained his Bachelor Music degree graduating magna cum laude in viola in 1959 and Organ in 1960. In 1961 he obtained his Master of Music degree in viola. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in viola from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 1976.
After graduation from Hartt College Walter taught violin in the Preparatory Division of the Hartt School of Music and was violist in the Harford Symphony and Chamber Orchestra until 1965. In 1963 Walter married Elizabeth (Nancy) Page and together they moved to Portland, Oregon, where Walter was a viola/music instructor. In 1967 they moved to Delaware where Walter was violist in the Delos String Quartet at the University of Delaware from 1967-1978. They had two children, Catherine and Carol. In 1978 Walter and Nancy were divorced.
Walter moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1978, where for four years he was associate professor/academic staff in the music department at the University of Eau Claire teaching viola and organ and elementary music theory. During his time in Eau Claire Walter also was the organist/music director at Christ Church Cathedral.
In 1981 Walter married Joanne Goulet. They lived in Chippewa Falls, WI, until 1989 when they moved to White Bear Lake, MN. Walter was organist/music director at St. John’s in the Wilderness Episcopal Church until 1995. He then became organist/choirmaster at Gethsemane Episcopal Church in downtown Minneapolis until his retirement from that position. He was a member of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra from 1991 holding the principal violist position from 1995 to 2004. He also played viola with the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. Eau Claire, WI; was principal violist with the Golden Valley Orchestra from 2009-2014; and principal viola with the Northeast Orchestra, Fridley, MN until his move to Wisconsin. He continued with his music meeting weekly with a former university colleague, occasionally playing viola at the church and attending concerts, either in person or virtually. He was a music and religious historian.
He is survived by his wife Joanne; his two children Catherine Ann Cogswell (John Schienman) of Tolland, CT, and Carol (Alan) Fleck of Lansdale, PA; two grandchildren (Carol) Theo and Sara, and a brother Lawrence (Sharon) Cogswell, Jr. of Glastonbury, CT and nephew Lawrence (Maria Barile) Cogswell, III of Massachusetts and their two children. He is also survived by five step-children Sue (Jon) Smith, Alan (Deb) Goulet, Diane (Kevin) Hager, Russ (Laurie) Goulet and Jeff (Kriss Glenz) Goulet, 10 step-grandchildren and 5 step-great grandchildren.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence P. Cogswell of Hartford, CT.
A Requiem Eucharist will be will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022 at Christ Church Cathedral, 510 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire, WI with The Very Rev’d H. Scott Kirby officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the Requiem Eucharist at the church. Inurnment will take place at Calvary Cemetery, in Chippewa Falls, WI. Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn Funeral & Cremation Services is assisting the family. Online condolences may be shared at www.lenmarkfh.com.
Memorials may be sent to Christ Church Cathedral or a charity of choice.