Glenwood Springs man fulfills late wife’s wish—releases FBI autobiography
One of Phil K. Walter’s favorite memories of his FBI career is when his wife pitched in on a case.
“That would be the story about my wife being a drug mule…and a real b—-. That is my favorite story,” Walter said of the memory, which can be found with many others in his book, “Anecdotes of an FBI Agent A Twenty-Nine-Year Journey.”
To know the entire story requires purchasing his book or perhaps asking in person at the book signing planned for 8 a.m. to noon Friday Nov. 27 at the Glenwood Springs Starbucks, 2115 Grand Ave. However the short version involves a condominium deposit, a disgruntled real estate agent and Walter’s late wife Joan sticking to her undercover persona.
“So after the investigation was concluded I went back to make sure the informant had paid what was required on the condo and that he hadn’t trashed it. I got to the realtor, I identified myself…and she said, ‘I knew there was something wrong, I knew there was something wrong!’ She said, ‘those women were drug mules! The younger one was OK but the older one was a real b—-.’ and she was talking about my wife.”
Walter, who served as a special agent in the FBI from 1966-1995, recounted the memory fondly and said the couple laughed about it for many years after the fact.
“She was very proud of her role and I was proud of her,” Walter said.
It was his wife Joan’s suggestion to record what his life as an agent was like, at the very least for his children and grandchildren to read about someday, that inspired Walter to write the book.
“My wife, who passed in 2015, told me numerous times that I should write an autobiography…I began writing the book the month after she passed and I worked on it for five years,” Walter said.
Glen Ely, a historian and writer also local to Glenwood Springs, is acknowledged in the book for help with the editing process. Ely met Walter through First Presbyterian Church of Glenwood and describes him as a kind, generous man.
“…You see in that book he really ran up against some pretty tough customers. He doesn’t brag about it, he’s very humble and self-assuming. You would never know that when the chips were down he did the things that he did. A lot of the things he did would scare the heck out of me, you know?” Ely said.
Walter has two children and three grandchildren. While his work as a special agent for the FBI was something he had wanted to do since the seventh grade, he made sure to keep his work duties and his family life separate.
The autobiography preserves all the stories Walter collected as a Special Agent. He said he hopes readers walk away from the book with a better understanding of what it means to work for the FBI.
“I think it…shows that FBI agents are still the good guys despite publicity to the contrary…and that if it weren’t for ordinary everyday people who when called upon help the FBI…the FBI would not be able to function properly,” Walter said.
For members of law enforcement who read the book, Walter said he wants to remind them of their primary role in the community. During his time with the FBI he also was a legal instructor who would also teach courses on stress management, physical fitness and firearms. He said apart from the skills he taught he also reminded his students of people’s rights and how no one is above the law.
“I hope they get the sense that enforcing the constitutional guarantees should be primary in their efforts…I was a legal instructor and…my task was to instill in them that the law and people’s constitutional rights are important, and should not be infringed upon,” Walter said.
There will be a book signing event at the Starbucks on Grand Ave. on Friday Nov. 27 from 8 a.m. to noon. Those who are interested can visit Walter to have a copy of the book signed, and meet the man behind the stories in a safe environment where mask wearing and social distancing will be enforced.
The cover of Phil K. Walter’s book.
What: Book signing with Phil K. Walter, author of “Anecdotes of an FBI Agent A Twenty-Nine-Year Journey.”
When: 8 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 27
Where: Glenwood Springs Starbucks, 2115 Grand Ave.
How much: Free
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