At 83, Walter Trattner keeps going | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

At 83, Walter Trattner keeps going 


A lot has changed in 83-year-old Walter Trattner’s lifetime.   

He grew up Orthodox in New York City, but moved to Massachusetts and then Wisconsin for higher education. He worked as a history professor at Northern Illinois University, then University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. After almost 60 years of marriage, his wife’s death prompted him to move from Milwaukee to Mequon. He lives there now, at an independent senior living facility called Newcastle Place.   

But there has been one constant in Trattner’s life: he’s always been a fast walker.   

In New York City, he had to walk quickly or “get killed crossing streets.”  

In Milwaukee, he and his wife walked their dogs for three or four miles per day.  

At UWMilwaukee, secretaries joked that Trattner’s footsteps were so rapid that they could tell when he was walking by to use the restroom.   

And now, at Newcastle Place, Trattner has earned a reputation for his high-speed loops around the building.   

“When I do see people, they often remark, ‘Oh my God, you’ve gone around so fast; I can’t believe that!’” Trattner said. “I’m just walking at what I consider my natural pace.”  

Trattner’s daily schedule involves walking five loops around the building after breakfast and five loops after lunch. If the weather is nice, he’ll walk outside between Newcastle’s North and South campuses.  

Before COVID-19 shut down Newcastle’s health club, Trattner used the elliptical for 30 minutes every day. Now, as the health club is starting to reopen, he uses a recumbent bike for 30 minutes, three times per week.  

Trattner has always led an active life. He was a member of his college basketball team, played tennis and played in an adult racquetball league — where he won many racquetball tournaments. Before moving to Newcastle, he exercised on a machine that simulated cross country skiing every day.   

Trattner loves the health club at Newcastle. He said he is primarily motivated to exercise there by a desire to stay healthy. 

“It’s certainly hearthealthy to remain active and to exercise,” Trattner said. “And I actually enjoy doing it.”