PEKIN - Walter Junior Atherton, 85, of Pekin passed away at 11:05 p.m. Friday, May 16, 2014, at Morton Villa Care Center.
Walt was born Nov. 24, 1928, in Mason City, Ill., to Walter V. Atherton and Edna M. (Baumgartner). He married Jerry (Robinson-Riviere) on June 12, 1968. She died on April 28, 2007, in Pekin.
Also preceding Walter in death were his parents, one granddaughter, one grandson and one great-grandson.
Surviving are two sons, Danny (Bev) Atherton of Deer Creek and Donny Atherton of Pekin. Also surviving are four stepchildren, Michele (Bob) Small of Pekin, Paul (Lee) Riviere of Forest City, Clay (Sue) Riviere of Clermont, Fla., and Lance (Lisa) Riviere of Pekin; eight grandchildren, Daniel (Jade) Atherton, Katie (Terry) Small-Massey, Winston (Deborah) Hosbrough, Alan Hosbrough, Paul (Becky) Riviere, Mathew (Haley) Riviere, Rachel Spires and Hannah Riviere. He is also survived by his aunt, Nip (Diane) Baumgartner; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Walt graduated from San Jose High School in 1958 and moved to Pekin shortly after that. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving during World War II. He went overseas to Japan and got to celebrate his 21st birthday twice by crossing the International Dateline.
After returning, he began his career in carpentry. He worked for various construction firms in Pekin, eventually going into business for himself. His wood-working skills were excellent and many family members and friends were the recipients of his passion for wood.
Walt enjoyed being out of doors and the family took many trips out west to camp and fish.
His funeral will be Friday, May 23, 2014, at 10 a.m. at Henderson Funeral Home & Crematory, 2131 Velde Drive, in Pekin, with the Rev. Gary Ford of Grace United Methodist Church officiating. Visitation will be Thursday, May 22, 2014, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in Green Hill Cemetery in San Jose.
Memorials may be made to Grace Methodist Church.
To view Walt's memorial tribute page or to leave an online condolence, go to www.hendersonfuneralcare.com.