John William Walls John William Walls, 86, passed away on Friday, May 31, 2013, after a brief illness. John was born on March 25, 1927, in Knightstown, Indiana, to Otto F. and Ruth Miller Walls. He graduated from Knightstown High School, Indiana University, and Wayne State University (Detroit). He served in World War II as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Force. John retired in 1993 as President of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He was named an Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash by Governors Otis Bowen, Robert Orr, and Evan Bayh. He had also served as Senior Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis under Mayor Richard Lugar and as the first Executive Director of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee. His involvement in the creation of Unigov in the 1970s was a source of satisfaction for him. John was active in many local, state, and national public and civic organizations, often serving in leadership roles. He was the first Chairman of the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo), and President of the Metropolitan Development Commission. He also served as Chairman of the United States Council of State Chambers of Commerce. In addition to the three Sagamore of the Wabash awards, he received the Indianapolis Jaycees Good Government Award, the Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences, and a Community Service Award from the Christian Theological Seminary. John and his wife, Phyllis, were longtime members of First Friends Church and later joined St. Luke's United Methodist Church. They enjoyed many years of golfing at Meridian Hills Country Club. John's primary interests and enjoyment were related to his wife, family, and friends. He and Phyllis cherished family occasions, looking forward to each moment together. They were childhood sweethearts in Knightstown and their marriage of 65 years brought them countless special memories. John is survived by his wife, Phyllis Hardin Walls; four children: Ann Ponce (Phil), Kathryn Shorter (Fred), Elizabeth Root (James), and Timothy Walls (Margaret); thirteen grandchildren, Dan (Amy) and Anthony (Maggie) Ponce, Maria Terre (Trey), Doug (Shantel), Jill, John, and Steve Roudebush, Tom, Emily, and Madeline Root, and Noreen, Liam, and Anya Walls, four step-grandchildren, Fritz (Denise), Ryan, Adam (Michelle), and Jake Shorter, and 4 great-granddaughters. He is also survived by a niece, Sandra Dowty, and a nephew, John O. Gradle. The family would like to express gratitude to the medical team at St. Vincent Hospital for all they did. Visitation will be at Crown Hill Funeral Home from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. Memorial service will be at St. Luke's Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th St., Indianapolis, at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 6.
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Published in The Indianapolis Star from Jun. 3 to Jun. 4, 2013.