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Walter Blakely Todd (1918 - 2012)

Obituary
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Colonel Walter Blakely Todd, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Columbia

Colonel Walter Blakely Todd, U.S. Army (Ret.) died on December 27, 2012. The family will receive friends at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, at 5:00 until 7:00 PM. Funeral services will be held at Providence ARP Church on North Broad Street in Clinton, South Carolina, on Thursday, January 3, 2013, at 1:00 PM followed by a graveside service at Rosemont Cemetery, in Clinton, SC, with full military honors.

Walter Todd was born in Clinton, South Carolina, on March 15, 1918. He was the son of the late Joseph Reed Todd and Lucy Bell Sloan Todd. He was a 1939 graduate of Presbyterian College where he lettered in football and was a member of Mu Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He was honored by the fraternity for his service to country and state in a ceremony at the college in 2008, and at his death, he was the oldest living member of the Chapter.

He was commissioned as an officer in the Army through ROTC at PC, and entered the Army in 1940 as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. In 1941, he was selected through competitive examination for the Regular Army. What followed was a long, eventful and distinguished career as a professional soldier. On June 6, 1944, he was with the first wave troops in the Normandy Invasion, landing on UTAH Beach with the Eighth Infantry Regiment of the Fourth Infantry Division. He was with the Regiment until the surrender of Nazi Germany, participating in the bitterest fighting in that part of the European theatre, including the liberation of Cherbourg, the Saint Lo breakthrough, the liberation of Paris, the Hurtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. When the Korean War began, Major Todd was in General Douglas McArthur's Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, where he served for the first year of the war. In 1967-1968, Colonel Todd served in Vietnam where he was Army Combat Operations Advisor to the South Vietnamese Army in the Four Northern Provinces of the Mekong Delta. He was there during the Tet Offensive, a time of heavy fighting and intense enemy pressure throughout the country. In peacetime service, he graduated from a number of service schools, including the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. In the early sixties, he was Deputy Director of Instruction at the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and commanded a battle group in the Second Infantry Division at the Fort. He saw peacetime service overseas in Japan, Turkey and Korea. His last duty assignment prior to retirement in 1969 was as Chief of Staff at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Over his career, Colonel Todd received numerous awards for gallantry and meritorious service including the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf clusters, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the European Theater Medal with five campaign stars, the Korean Service Medal, the Viet Nam Service Medal with four campaign stars, and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. He was an early inductee in the Presbyterian College ROTC Hall of Fame.

After retirement from the Army, Colonel Todd accepted a position with the newly established State of South Carolina Department of Mental Retardation as its first Director of Administration where in that capacity and as Deputy Commissioner, he served for 14 years overseeing the rapid growth of the Department. Upon his retirement from State government in 1983, he was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Richard Riley for his service to the State. Beginning in 1983, Colonel Todd became active with Midlands Technical College, serving first for the college as a Richland County Commissioner, and in 1985, as Commission Chairman. He served a second term as Chairman in 1993-1994. He also served as Chairman of the Richland-Lexington Counties Commission for Technical Education, and two terms as State Chairman of the Association of Community College Trustees. Colonel Todd was a member of the Columbia Sertoma Club, a deacon and elder in Centennial AR Presbyterian Church of Columbia, and was, at his death, a member of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia where he served on the Board of Directors of Laurel Crest, the First Presbyterian Church Retirement Center from its planning stages through the groundbreaking and construction in 1993.

Above all else, Colonel Todd was devoted to his family. He was predeceased by his brother, J. Sloan Todd; three sisters, Martha Reed Todd Workman, Mary Todd Eargle and Elizabeth Todd Bolick; and by his loving wife of sixty-five years, Rosemary Alexander Todd. He is survived by his children: Walter Blakely Todd, Jr. and wife, Susan Echols Todd, of Columbia, Matilda Todd Balsley and husband, Jacob Benjamin Balsley, III, of Reidsville, North Carolina; and his four grandchildren: Sloan Todd Cooper and husband, John Roy Cooper, Walter Blakely Todd, III and wife, Katherine Nelson Todd, Jacob Benjamin Balsley, IV and wife, Sarah Lindsay Balsley, and Alexander Todd Balsley and wife, Heather Keeney Balsley, and eight great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Walter B. and Rosemary A. Todd Scholarship Fund at Presbyterian College, 503 S. Broad Street, Clinton, South Carolina 29325-2865, or to the Laurel Crest Endowment Fund, 100 Joseph Walker Drive, West Columbia, South Carolina 29169.

Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.

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Published in The Greenville News on Dec. 30, 2012
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