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Elmer E. WaltersElmer “Walt” “Junior” Ellis Walters Jr. was born at the family farm in Jones, MI on Nov. 23, 1930, the first child of Elmer Walter and Clara Benkeser Walter. Due to a typo on his birth certificate, Elmer went by the surname of Walters all his life although the family name was Walter. Elmer Jr. was born and raised a farmer; he retained his ethic for hard work and his love for tractors his whole life. Some of his early memories include cold winter trips to the outhouse, milking the family cows, and watching his father hitch up the horses to plow the fields. One especially important memory was the day his father received his first tractor. Another important event was the installation of indoor plumbing. Besides working on the farm with his father, Elmer “Fuzzy” Walter and his brother Fred, “Junior” worked for several local farmers and any odd job he could find. When he was in his teens, he began a lengthy career in the paper mill industry. In the beginning he shoveled coal from railroad cars in Three Rivers. Years later he became a supervisor at Georgia Pacific in Kalamazoo. In 1953, “Junior” married Harriett Bristol and they welcomed a daughter Arlene who was his only child. He also became stepfather to Arlene’s older sister Ardel and often had the two girls for weekend visits after the marriage ended. “Junior” served in the Army in the Korean War from 1954-1956, a part of his life he would rather not talk about. At the end of the war, he was stationed in CA for a while, and had the job of being the chauffeur for some of the generals. Elmer later married Carol Madigan and moved to Portage, MI where they lived for many years. He acquired the nickname “Walt” while working in the paper mills. During the 70’s with middle-management downsizing, he lost his supervisor position at Georgia Pacific. After trying a few jobs, “Walt” began a career in retail at Quality Farm and Fleet where he was manager of shipping and receiving for 20+ years. In 1990, “Walt” moved to a small farm in Scotts, MI and married Sandi Smith Overholt. Along with this marriage, he became stepfather to Melanie Overholt. “Walt” decided to retire at age 62 only to find that he missed being around people. He then took a part time job at Advanced Molding Innovations in Schoolcraft, MI; he loved working at the plastics factory and made some lifelong friends there. In 2000, “Walt” decided to retire permanently. He spent many hours working on the family farm, tinkering in his workshop or working on his tractor, a 1942 Ford 9-N. Other hobbies included hunting, fishing, camping, and eating Dunkin Donuts (the plain ones). He also helped care for baby goats that were raised on the farm. His beloved daughter Arlene Walter Moord passed away from cancer in 2007, a tragedy from which he never fully recovered. “Walt” went to be with the Lord on May 30, 2020 after a brief illness. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister and her husband Betty and Bud Jensen, his first wife Harriett Bristol Savacool, and his daughter Arlene Walter Moord. He is survived by his brother Fred (Lorna) Walter, wife of 30 years Sandi Walters, stepdaughter Melanie (Quentin) Witkowski, grandchildren MaRinda (Mac) Stamp, MaHaley Moord, Hadley and Sutton Witkowski, great grandchildren Cameron, Brixton and Ellis Stamp, stepdaughter Ardel (Al) Bontrager and their children Bridget (Tim) Frost and Brandon (Chris) Bontrager, a niece Rita Griffith, a nephew David (Lucinda) Walter, a close cousin Doug Bowman, several great nieces and nephews, and former wife Carol Walter. Per Elmer’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and he will be laid to rest next to his daughter Arlene at Poe’s cemetery in Jones, MI in a private burial. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date to be determined due to the pandemic. Memorial contributions may be made to Ascension at Home Hospice or Scotts United Methodist Church where he was a member for 25 years. While visiting Elmer's webpage at www.avinkcremation.com please sign the guestbook by lighting a candle, and/or sharing a memory with the family. The family is being assisted by the Avink Funeral Home & Cremation Society, 129 S. Grand Schoolcraft, MI 49087 (269-679-5622).
A candle was lit in memory of Elmer Walters
Amy Taylor Jun 3 2020 8:10 PM