John Walter, 92

COLUMBIA CITY — John Robert Walter, 92, of Columbia City, passed away peacefully at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at his home. He had been in failing health since May, 2011.John Robert was born Dec. 27, 1918, in Essex County, Ontario, Canada where his father was working for the Ford Motor Company in Windsor.He was a son of Albert “Sis” and Chloe Myrtle (Taylor) Walter.In 1919, his family moved to Columbia City. His school years were spent in Columbia City where he was involved in football, track, basketball and baseball.He played trombone in the marching band that won a state championship. He also participated in speech and debate. He achieved high academic honors, graduating with the Class of 1937 from Columbia City High School.John Robert met Madelyn M. Phend on a blind date in 1937. On Dec. 24, 1939, they were united in marriage. They made their home in North Manchester until he graduated from Manchester College in 1942 when they returned to Columbia City.He began his lifelong career teaching and coaching at Jefferson Center School in Whitley County.On Sept. 16, 1943, he was inducted in the U.S. Army, serving during World War II.Following his honorable discharge on Feb. 17, 1945, he went back to Jefferson Center.He then taught and coached at Northwestern High School near Kokomo before moving his family to Bloomington, where he received his graduate degree from Indiana University.His career took him to schools at Petroleum, Pleasant Lake and Auburn. He finished his career with the Fort Wayne Community School system where he taught at North Side and Northrop High Schools.While at North Side he coached three state track championship teams and one state cross country championship team. In 1971, they returned to Whitley County where they lived at Troy Cedar Lake until they moved to their present home in Columbia City.His memberships include Blue River Church of the Brethren.Surviving relatives include his wife of 71 years, Madelyn; two children, Cathy Lou Bewak of Fort Wayne and Larry Michael (Becky) Walter of Goose Lake; eight grandchildren, Christina (David) Roberts, Todd (Susie) Neff, Forrest (Sarah) Walter, Ryan (Kim) Walter, Kate (Pete) Copp, Sarah (Brandon) Marshall, Hallie Adams and Reed Adams; and six great-grandchildren.He was preceded in death by a brother, Harold Walter.The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Blue River Church of the Brethren, 3040 E. CR 700 N., Columbia City with visitation one hour prior to service.The burial will be in Christian Chapel Cemetery, Merriam. The visitation will also be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. Preferred memorials are to Parkview Home Health & Hospice.Condolences may be sent to