William “Will” Robert Houde-Walter, 72, passed in the arms of his family in Rochester, New York, on June 7, 2021. Will was the beloved husband to his doting wife, Susan Houde-Walter, and father to his only daughter, Haley (Richard) Chute, grandfather to granddaughters, Madeline (5) and Charlotte (3). Will was born on December 27, 1948 in Highland Park (Detroit), MI to the late Helen J. (Dingell) Walter and William H. Walter. He is predeceased by his brother, John (Maureen) Walter, and sister, Lois (John) Adams.
Will spent his childhood exploring vacuum tube electronics and blowing things up in the basement with his siblings. He built walkie-talkies and early-gen video equipment and, at the age of 7, made the Detroit News for live broadcasting a chess game between rooms of his home with a home-built TV set-up. Will’s curiosity and ingenuity only grew as he matured. As a teenager, he souped up cars and raced them on Eight Mile Road in Detroit. He and his older brother founded and ran a videography company in Detroit.
As a young man, Will became interested in holography. He worked with Emmett Leith at the University of Michigan, and made holographic portraits at the Smithsonian pulsed holography lab at Brookhaven National Lab. He joined Stephen A. Benton’s holography lab in Edwin Land’s skunkworks and met another holographer at Brookhaven who was to become his wife, Susan. Many of the holograms they made were displayed at the Museum of Holography, now located at the Media Lab at MIT in Cambridge MA.
Susan and Will settled in Rochester, NY where Will’s inventive spirit led to him co-founding LaserMax, Inc. (now known as LaserMaxDefense) with Susan in 1989. Their company later grew to over 75 employees, employing and exclusively manufacturing high quality, rugged laser products in Rochester, NY. LaserMax supplied critical equipment to enthusiasts and specialists alike, equipping the military, law enforcement, and special forces for many years. Will and Susan’s early products are credited with saving countless lives in conflicts domestic and abroad.
While Will is best known for his inventions, he enjoyed the spice of life in many ways, including travel and cooking – an avid foodie with a preference for wickedly spicy foods. He was also an astronomy buff and a radio-controlled plane/car/boat enthusiast, which led to his teaching the neighborhood kids how to fly small drones. He loved electronic music, especially Kraftwerk. Will was inventor or co-inventor on more than 25 patents, and he mentored others in the generation of many more.
Will is survived through his loving family and the many lives he has touched over the years. He will be sorely missed.
Visitation will be held on THURSDAYJune 10, 2021 from 4:00-6:00PM at the Miller Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc. (3325 S Winton Rd, Rochester, NY 14623), service to follow at 6:00PM, all are welcome to attend.