Celebrating the Life and Legacy of the Hon. Walter Komanski ’71: Retired Jurist was First UCF SGA President
Photo Courtesy of the Komanski family
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Hon. Walter Komanski, a retired judge of Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit. He passed away on Sunday, July 16, leaving behind a legacy of service, dedication, and love.
Born on Shelter Island, New York, in 1946, Judge Komanski served his country as an enlisted man in the United States Army before becoming a second lieutenant in the Special Forces. He went on to attend Orlando Junior College and later became the first Student Body President at the University of Central Florida (formerly FTU) in 1969. It was there that he met Debbie Jones, his future wife and lifelong partner. They married in 1975 and the couple became staunch supporters of their alma mater, both receiving the UCF Distinguished Alumnus Award. Their love spanned more than 50 years and was the centerpiece that his life was built upon.
In 1975 he also earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (formerly John Marshall School of Law) and began a legal career that would span over four decades. He began as a prosecutor before serving as executive director of the Orange County Legal Aid Society and was eventually elected judge in Orange and Osceola counties. A leader in the juvenile justice field, he was an adjunct professor at UCF. Throughout his career, he was a tireless advocate for children, families and people in need, belonging to numerous societies dedicated to this cause. He was deeply respected for his unwavering sense of right and wrong.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Judge Komanski was a devoted family man and outdoorsman. He coached little league, teaching 9- to 12-year-olds technical skills as well as life lessons. Whether camping, scuba diving, or offshore fishing, he enjoyed experiencing the natural world and loved introducing his sons to these activities. He had a fascination with motorcycles and sports cars and was known for his wicked sense of humor and entertaining conversations. Retirement also allowed him time to support his wife’s work passion, The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, where she has served as executive director since 2004.
Judge Komanski was the ultimate father figure, serving his community, family, and friends selflessly to the end of his life. Before his passing, he shared that his proudest accomplishment was seeing his sons become loving and successful fathers themselves.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Ryan (Carolynn) and Christopher (Lauren), and four grandchildren Brie, Bligh, Jack and Luke. He was deeply loved and will be missed by all who knew him.
A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.