The roster of Olympic Champions has lost another member. Ignace Walter ("Walt") d'Hondt, a member of famous Canadian rowing team The Cinderella Four, died December 13, 2021, in Bellevue, WA, due to complications following a fall. He had lived in the Seattle area since 1963, when he began his 50-year career at Boeing.
Born September 11, 1936, in Richmond, Surrey, England, the only son of Walter Marie-Joseph Antoine d'Hondt and Sheillagh Mary (O'Brien) d'Hondt, he emigrated to Canada in 1948, attending Loyola College and D'Arcy McGee High School in Montreal, PQ. He spent a year in England in 1952, at John Fisher School in Purley, where he was part of the track and field team that won the All-England title under famed coach Franz Stampfl. Returning to Canada, he became Canadian Champion in the hammer throw at age 17. As a freshman at UBC in Vancouver in 1955, he was recruited for the UBC/VRC Rowing Crew, under coach Frank Read. One year later, he was part of the coxless four crew that shocked the world with a rare Gold Medal for Canada in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. This was followed by a Gold (eights) and a Silver (fours) at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Wales in 1958, and a Silver (eights) at the Rome Olympics in 1960.
In recent years he earned many wins in his age category with the Ancient Mariners Rowing Club in Seattle. He was inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 1957; the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1958; the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in both 1966 and 1977; and the University of British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in both 1993 and 2012.
Walter was preceded in death by his first wife, Linda Van Dyck, his daughter, Eileen Athene d'Hondt, and his brother-in-law, Michael Brent Taylor. He is survived by his loving wife of 23 years, Karrin (Klotz) d'Hondt, of Redmond, WA; his sons, Nigel Walter d'Hondt, Justin Peter (Keri) d'Hondt, and Colin Van Dyck (Gayle) d'Hondt; daughter, Gillian Katherine d'Hondt; brother-in-law, Jeffrey Van Dyck, and members of the Van Dyck family, of Seattle, WA, and Medford, OR; sisters, Danica d'Hondt (Nello) Olivo, of Cameron Park, CA, Athene d'Hondt (Bryan)Tarrant, of Lake Stevens, WA, and Mary-Thadia d'Hondt, of Seattle; and grandchildren, Cole Alexander d'Hondt, Brayden Christopher d'Hondt, Ashton Parker d'Hondt, Avianna Grace d'Hondt, and Emelyn Rose d'Hondt, and several cousins in Canada, England, Switzerland, and the USA.