Walter Louis Witten, a retired phone company manager and slow-pitch softball fan, died Saturday of brain cancer at Harmony Hall, a Columbia assisted-living facility. He was 72.
Mr. Witten was born in Louisville, Ky., and raised in Hyattsville. He was a 1953 graduate of Northwestern High School in Hyattsville and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., in 1962.
He began his career in 1953 with Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. as a messenger and pay phone coin collector.
Mr. Witten served as C&P's manager of directory operations and was responsible for overseeing the switch from labor-intensive clerical operations to computer systems for four C&P companies after their acquisition by Bell Atlantic.
At the time of his 1991 retirement, he was project manager for the design and construction of Bell Atlantic's Fairland Data Network Center in Silver Spring.
Mr. Witten was active in slow-pitch softball as a player, coach, manager and commissioner. He played in the outfield and was a left-handed batter. Mr. Witten was a member of two senior men's teams and two co-recreational teams in the Montgomery County Senior Sports Association.
"He was a tremendous athlete and also played volleyball and golf," said a brother, Donald E. Witten of Columbia. "He even played softball this spring."
Services were held yesterday at Mount Harmony United Methodist Church in Owings.
Also surviving are another brother, Charles Witten of North Myrtle Beach, S.C.; a sister, Rose Papaioannou of North Myrtle Beach; and two grandchildren. His marriage to the former Beverly Sincell ended in divorce. His daughter, Susan Witten, was killed in an automobile accident in 1998.