Walter G. Rivers Sr.

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Walter Guy Rivers, Sr., PhD, Professor Emeritus, of Englewood, FL died May 2, 2014 at the age of 80 years. He was born May 1, 1934 in Glenwood, GA to John Guy and Sallie Annette Rivers. He was an educator. As a college professor for 37 years, he taught biology, ecology, meteorology, oceanography, and zoology. He established the Lynchburg College field study course on San Salvador, Bahamas where he taught students about the biology and ecology of West Indian coral reefs. He conducted a Living off the Land course at his home in Big Island, where he taught students how to be self-sufficient without modern conveniences. He was a champion for the environment and a true steward of our natural resources. He educated the public, as well as local and national lawmakers, about conservation and the consequences of polluting the land and ocean. He was an avid reader and a captivating story-teller. He was a great intellect with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Like every great leader, he led by example. He was a role model and an inspiration to his students, his colleagues, and his friends. He was a believer in working hard. He was a doer. But, most importantly, he was a family man. His familyâ€"and especially his children-- always came first. He loved his children immensely and was devoted and dedicated to their success and well-being. He gave them the best life possible. He taught them life lessons and showed them the world. He was a “Giant” among men, in every sense of the word. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Verma Harrelson Rivers; his daughters Lisa Jonnette Tomayo (Miguel) of Orlando, FL; Roxanne Gaye Douberly (Alan) of Glenwood, GA; Sallie Anne Walsh (Brendan) of Orlando, FL; his sons Walter Guy Rivers Jr. (Malinda) of Bedford, Joseph Clinton Rivers (Tammy) of Suwannee, GA; thirteen grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and close friends Dr. Arthur and Nancy Garrett; Don and Kathy Gerace; and Michael Chambers. A memorial service will be held at Big Island Baptist Church in Big Island, VA at 11 AM on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Memorial donations in honor of Dr. Walter Guy Rivers, Sr. can be made to the Dr. Walter Guy Rivers Scholarship Fund, c/o Gene Frantz, Lynchburg College, 1501 Lakeside DR, Lynchburg, VA 24501.
Published in Bedford Bulletin from July 2 to July 3, 2014