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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Walter Lincoln Sheffield, 97, served as a pilot during World War II

WILMINGTON — Walter Lincoln Sheffield, 97, died peacefully Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. Walter was born April 27, 1920, in Wilmington, the son of the late Eliza Catherine Hayes Sheffield and Walter Lincoln Sheffield.

A 1937 graduate of New Hanover High School, Walter received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June 1941.

Walter had an interest in aviation from an early age. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 and became a pilot of C-47s (DC-3s) in the 35th Squadron of the 65th Troop Carrier Group. He served overseas during World War II for 26 months and flew over 2000 hours in combat.

In addition to dropping paratroopers and hauling gliders in combat, Walter’s flying included delivering supplies to forward-area troops and evacuating the wounded. He flew from air bases in England, North Africa, Sicily, Italy and India. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Clusters.

After World War II, Walter returned to Wilmington, married and started a family. He was a member of St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church, serving as chairman of its Board of Deacons; the Carolina Yacht Club; and the Cape Fear Country Club. He also served as president of the Cape Fear Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and received the Silver Beaver Award from the scout organization.

In 1968 he moved the family to Atlanta, Ga., where he was the national accounts manager for Continental Can Company and was a member of Cherokee Town and Country Club. After retiring from Continental Can with 30 years of service, Walter continued work as a sales consultant, primarily for Zapata Industries, for another 10 years. During his years in Atlanta, Walter maintained connections with his friends in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach by visiting his unit at The Islander as frequently as possible, until 2004.

He returned to Wilmington permanently in 2010, living at Brightmore until 2014. Since 2014, he had resided at Trinity Grove. Walter’s family wishes to thank the wonderful staff of Trinity Grove whose care and attention enabled Walter’s last 3 ½ years to be as comfortable as possible.

Walter was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Maxyne Smith Sheffield; one of his two sons, Douglas Calhoun Sheffield; and two sisters, Elizabeth Sheffield Beale and Lucy Sheffield Crossley.

He is survived by his son, Walter Lincoln Sheffield III (Sarah); four grandchildren, Devon Sheffield, Wesley Horton Sheffield (Bette), Tessa Louise Sheffield and David Douglas Sheffield; and great-granddaughter, Lydia Elizabeth Sheffield.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25, at St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Dr. Bob Bardeen officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in Oakdale Cemetery. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Walter’s life.

Memorial donations may be sent to the charity of donor’s choice in memory of Walter.

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