Services in Mardela Springs for Walt Cohee

When Jeff Merritt thinks about his friend Walter Cohee Jr., who was killed in a traffic accident last week, he is reminded of his limitless generosity.

“If his eyes were open, he was helping somebody. If you needed something and he had it, it was yours,” said Merritt, who met Cohee, of Mardela Springs, when the local organization Operation We Care was formed in 2007.

“He came on board as a volunteer and that’s how we met. Through the organizations he was involved in, he touched thousands of lives,” Merritt said.

Cohee died following an accident near Route 346 and New Hope Road on Feb. 8. Cohee lost control of the motorcycle he was riding and traveled off the road.

Cohee became involved in Operation We Care after his son, Walter “Trae” Cohee III, was killed in Afghanistan in 2002, making the 26-year-old Marine the first local casualty of that war.

The younger Cohee died when a Marine CH-53E crashed in a remote region 60 kilometers south of Bagram in Northern Afghanistan, according to the Marine Corps League Website.

He was assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, the Flying Tigers of Marine Aircraft Group 16, Combined Task Force 58, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif.

The senior Cohee, who served in the U.S. Air Force, supported many veteran’s causes and is remembered in his obituary for the rides he participated in.

“All that knew Walt will remember his contagious smile, warm hugs, a good story and his overall love for people,” according to the obituary.

His involvements were many and included the American Legion Post 218 in Sharptown, Marine Corps League of Salisbury, Yellow Ribbon Society of Cincinnati, Wounded Warriors of Sharptown, Toys for Tots, Operation We Care and Heroes Haven.

He was a lifetime member of the Mardela Springs Fire Co., where he served in various capacities.

He retired as a machine mechanic for Delmarva Power in Vienna and Indian River, Millsboro, after 37 years of service.

Cohee is survived by his wife, Jeanne Powell Cohee of Mardela Springs; a son, Kris Cohee of Mardela Springs; grandchildren; a sister-in-law; and friends, many who were quick to post on Facebook when they heard of his death.

“Today we lost an amazing man who tirelessly helped everyone around him and brought smiles to literally thousands of faces through Toys for Tots, Operation We Care, Heroes Haven, the Mardela Springs Fire Department … fly high, Walt Cohee. You will be missed and it is an honor to call you our friend,” one expressed.

Augustina Harris wrote, “He gets to be with his son again.”

Gina McGriff remembered Cohee, saying, “His heart was so big for so many of us. I know he and Trae are sharing hugs today. Let us all remember him with all the love he had for everyone.”

“My heart is broken,” Mel Knupp posted. “What a wonderful man he was. Prayers for his family and friends.”

Cohee’s funeral will be Saturday at the Mardela Springs Volunteer Fire Department, with viewing from 10 a.m. to noon and the service at noon.

Interment with military honors will follow the service at East New Market Cemetery.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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