James Ian Walter, 85, passed away unexpectedly at home on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. A memorial service for him is planned for 11 a.m. on Monday, March 11, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Auburn, Ala. The family will receive friends and family after the service in the parish hall. Following the reception, Dr. Walter's ashes will be interred with full military honors at Town Creek Cemetery.
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Dr. Walter was born Jan. 24, 1928, in Montgomery, Ala., to John Adkin Walter, Sr., and Marjorie Payne Walter. He grew up on his family's large dairy farm in Snowdoun, Ala., and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery in 1946.
After high school, Dr. Walter went to Norfolk, Va., to serve 19 months in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, patrolling the U.S. and Canadian Eastern Seaboard. Being discharged just before his 20th birthday, he promptly enrolled in Huntingdon College in 1948, where received a B.A. in History just three years later. In 1951, he accepted a position with the Montgomery Advertiser, where he remained until 1956, when enrolled in Virginia Theological Seminary. He received a Master of Divinity in 1959 and moved to Atlanta, where he became the Clinical Pastor at Grady Memorial Hospital.
It was in Atlanta that he met and married the love of his life, Katherine Massengale of Atlanta in 1961. He went on to become the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Birmingham, then Curate for Church of the Nativity in Huntsville. In 1964, he moved to Auburn, where he pursued an M.S. and an Ed.D. in Counselor Education at Auburn University and graduated in 1968. Upon graduation, he was hired as the Executive Director of the East Alabama Mental Health in Opelika, Ala., where he would stay for nearly 30 years. In 1995, he returned to the church, where he served as Interim Priest at St. John's Episcopal Church in Montgomery, then became Curate there from 1996 to 2007.
In addition to his professional pursuits, Dr. Walter was active in civic organizations, including the Opelika Rotary Club, the Elks Lodge, Saugahatchee Country Club and served on the Board of Directors for East Alabama Mental Health Center.
Dr. Walter is predeceased by his parents and a brother, John Adkin Walter, Jr. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Katherine; their two sons, Mark (Lawrence) of Atlanta, and Michael (Sara) of Auburn; and their two grandsons, Tristan and Hudson.
Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home is directing.
Published in the Montgomery Advertiser from Mar. 9 to Mar. 10, 2013