Walter Herlitschek, a resident of East Hampton for more than 40 years, died at home on Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., just two weeks shy of his 92nd birthday. A man of many interests, he had lifelong passions for painting, travel, cooking, reading, gardening, music, collecting, and dogs. He remained curious and interested in new experiences despite his recent failing health.
Born in Brooklyn on Nov. 22, 1920, to Ludwig and Anna Herlitschek, he spent his youth in Manhattan and in the Catskills, where his family owned a hotel. He served in the Army during World War II, stationed in North Africa. There his artistic skills were put to good use in a unit dedicated solely to producing camouflage, such as on tanks and other equipment.
After the war, he attended Cooper Union in New York City, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Art and painting was a common thread that ran through his career and pastime activities. He worked as an artist for the Batman and Superman comic books. After Warner Bros. purchased the DC Comics company, he moved full time to East Hampton.
For 25 years he owned and operated Pequod Emporium, an antiques and gift shop in Amagansett Square. There, Mr. Herlitschek enjoyed welcoming new and longtime customers and suggesting stylish ways for them to accessorize their homes.
Upon retiring, he continued to paint on a regular basis, up until a few weeks before he died. Many of the paintings reflected his natural surroundings, in East Hampton and in the mountains of North Carolina, where he moved in 2006, and Florida, his winter residence.
A sister, Lily Hiller Herlitschek, and a brother, Julius Herlitschek, died before him. Surviving are his partner of 20 years, Gerry Winterrowd, a brother, Robert Herlitschek of Boynton Beach, Fla., and two nephews and two nieces.
Donations in his name can be sent to Transylvania Regional Hospital Hospice, P.O. Box 2440, Brevard, N.C. 28712.