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Obituaries

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Walter Arthur Machette, Jr.
1924-2016


After living a full life, Walter "Wally" Arthur Machette Jr. died peacefully on October 11, 2016, in Lafayette, CA. Wally was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, on October 27, 1924, to Walter and Lillian Machette. He graduated from Yale in 1947, then immediately headed west. Along the way, he stopped in Colorado at the Broadmoor Hotel and was paired for a mixed doubles tennis match with Natalie Glenn. Soon thereafter, in 1948, they wed in San Francisco. Initially they lived in San Francisco before moving to Belvedere, where they lived in the fifth house built on the lagoon for the next 50-plus years.

Wally started his career in commercial insurance at Johnson & Higgins, where he handled the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley. Ultimately he started his own independent brokerage, Walter Machette Insurance. He was well respected, articulate and demanding for his clients. In doing so, he was always the gentleman.

The city and community of Belvedere were very grateful for Wally's leadership and expertise in creatively finding insurance coverage for the "uninsured" lagoon flooding. His leadership was no surprise to his family, as they often referred to him as GL (Great Leader).

In addition to his professional life, Wally was a sports enthusiast and tennis player. He was one of the founding members of the Belvedere Tennis Club and, at age 37, he was its first president. He went on to be the president of the Northern California Tennis Association. During his NCTA tenure, he brought the US Davis Cup to the Berkeley Tennis Club, the Junior Davis Cup training camp to Stanford and hired Barry McKay in 1970 as the director for the ATP tournament in San Francisco. That event, with Fireman's Fund and Transamerica as the early sponsors, is now the SAP Open tournament in San Jose.

Through thick and thin, Wally's team was the 49ers. From Kezar to Candlestick, having season tickets since 1948, you could find Wally at Candlestick, section #24, watching his team.

An avid sports fan, Wally often watched multiple broadcasts with family or dear friends at his home. If sports weren't on, music was; Wally loved opera, musicals and attending Broadway shows. He also enjoyed travel, particularly to Europe, Japan, Mexico and Hawaii.

Wally was a world-class dominos player. He could often be found playing dominos at Jack's on the third floor honing his skills. He went on to win the World Domino Double Championship in San Francisco numerous times.
He is survived by his beloved children, Cathy Butler of Reno, NV (Dennis), Michael Machette of Orinda, CA (Robin), Natalie Watson of Arroyo Grande, CA (Michael), and Alexandra Middendorf of Natchitoches, LA (Zackary); his 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Special thanks to the staff at Atria, Lafayette and Kaiser Hospice of Martinez.

Wally will be laid to rest at a private ceremony.

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