WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH – John William (Bill) Walton Jr., 93, passed into his eternal life surrounded by the love of his family on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The only child of John William Walton Sr. and Martha Rogers Walton, he was born on Aug. 15, 1923. Mr. Walton remained as proud of his beginnings in Wilmington’s Seagate community as he was of his life’s many accomplishments.
He attended New Hanover County schools and graduated from New Hanover High School in 1941. Following in his father’s footsteps, Mr. Walton went to work for the Atlantic Coastline after graduation. His work there was interrupted by his decision to join the United States Army in 1943 to help in the WWII war effort. Before being honorably discharged in 1945, he earned three Bronze Battle Stars for his selfless service in the Philippines, New Guinea and Japan.
Upon his return to civilian life, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill to attend Wake Forest College (now Wake Forest University), where in 1949 he earned a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in French. In the same year he married the love of his life, Mary Charlotte Gardner, who has for 67 years remained his loving and devoted wife.
Together Mr. and Mrs. Walton raised four children, John David Walton (Goldie), Mary Ann Walton, Rebecca Romulus and Sarah Haigwood (Tom). In 1978 Bill became a proud “Papa” when the first of his 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren (with two on the way) was born. He cherished the time he spent with his grandchildren, who all remember him as a loving and devoted grandfather who taught them many important life lessons. In addition to his immediate family, he is remembered and cherished by a very special nephew, Luther T. Rogers III, and niece, Scottie Rogers Anderson, their families and dear cousins, George Gaddy, his wife Mary, and Lonnie and Shirlene Gaddy. Surviving him, too, is his faithful canine friend, Lilly, who brought him many hours of happiness and unconditional love.
By working many hard and long hours, Mr. Walton was able to support his family as he built his business, Murray Transfer and Storage Co., from a local company into a thriving success with satellite offices in Jacksonville, Havelock and Myrtle Beach. After 22 years of operation, he sold Murray in order to pursue other business opportunities.
He earned his real estate broker’s license in 1973 and in 1976 he graduated from the North Carolina Realtor’s Institute, going on to develop many commercial properties in the Greenfield Lake and Dutch Square areas.
Mr. Walton was raised as a member of Seagate Baptist Church, but upon his marriage he joined St. Andrew’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, where he faithfully and actively served as a Sunday school teacher and elder since 1950. He also was a lifelong Kiwanian with over 65 years of membership and a member of the Cape Fear Country Club where he enjoyed many happy, and sometimes frustrating, hours playing golf.
He loved his family, loved life, loved playing poker with his friends, enjoyed a sip of Evan Williams and the life that comes from the values of working hard and having faith. He and Charlotte enjoyed 28 years of residence at Wrightsville Beach, where they hosted innumerable family gatherings, enjoyed watching beautiful sunsets from their front porch and listening to the gentle lap of water at their doorstep. He leaves us after a life of integrity, honesty and quiet devotion to his many family, friends and business associates. A true southern gentleman, he leaves a legacy of leading by example, doing the right thing and always finding the humor and grace in any situation.
The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, at St. Andrew’s Covenant Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends the hour prior to the service. The inurnment will follow at Oakdale Cemetery.
Memorial donations to St. Andrew’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, Seagate Baptist Church, Lower Cape Fear Hospice or the charity of your choice are greatly appreciated.
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