Sunday, November 6, 2022, Walter Hershman passed away peacefully at Lankenau Hospital after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. He was 53 years old. He leaves behind his wife Li Huan Li, his 13 year old son Chad, both parents, Evelyn and Morton, and two sisters, Judy and Sharon.
Walter grew up in Lewisburg, PA and before graduating with a Theatre and Music degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where he performed as Steely McBeam, the then mascot for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Walter moved to NYC to pursue his acting career. He was accepted into the Screen Actors Guild and was cast in roles both on and off screen, including with the New York City Opera and at New York’s Jekyll & Hyde dinner theater. Walter loved to perform and although he traveled quite a bit during his life, he loved New York City best. Between roles, Walter worked as a NYC tour guide, sharing his love for the city. He was also a certified BLS instructor and taught English language classes, where he met his wife.
As his disease progressed, Walter and his family moved to Philadelphia. In 2019 he became a resident of Inglis House for his long term care.
Being a father meant everything to Walter. Chad was his greatest joy and Walter cherished every moment with him. He remained as involved in Chad's life for as long as his disease would allow; helping with homework, attending his football games, and speaking on the phone every day. Their time together made his uncooperative body tolerable.
Perhaps Walter's greatest achievement was his ability to collect friendships. His booming voice, goofy sense of humor, boisterous laugh and big easy smile made him instantly likeable. Beyond the immediate likeability, he listened with focused intent to anyone speaking to him. Even as he lost his sight, his focus could be felt in his steady gaze. His offers of help and support to others were endless, even though he could no longer care for himself. This selfless and kind loyalty was what made acquaintances into his hundreds of lifelong friends.
One of Walter’s final goals was to share his story with the hope it could help others find strength in living with their own illnesses. In 2021, he published his memoir and titled it, “Stubborn S.O.B.” That, he was. He fought a 13 year battle with MS and refused to give in. As his body became more and more broken, his spirit continued to grow stronger.
Walter is finally free from the limitations of his body and his spirit will live on. He will be missed by all who knew him and perhaps by some who didn’t. Fly free, dance and never stop laughing Walter.
A memorial service will be announced for Sunday, 12/11 and a donation fund is being established for Walter's son.