John Walter, the son of Lawrence and Jean (Sanford) Walter, was born on Feb. 19, 1921, in Washington, Indiana, and died Dec, 12, 2017, at Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Columbus. After graduating from Washington High School, he moved to Los Angeles, where he attended and played football for Long Beach Junior College.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942, graduated from pilot training in January 1944, and was assigned to the 95th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force in England in August of 1944. He flew 35 combat missions over Germany as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and five air medals. Upon returning to the U.S. he served as a pilot in the Air Transport Command. John resigned from the Air Force Reserve as a captain in 1953.
In July 1945 John married Barbara Smiley, a high school classmate. She passed away in 1999.
John graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1949 and joined Cummins Engine Company, where he held positions in product and manufacturing engineering, production, research and international divisions. He served as chief engineer during the launch of the Shotts Engine Plant in Scotland. In 1981 he presented the 27th L. Ray Buckendale lecture at the Society of Automotive Engineer's annual meeting in Detroit. In 1984 he was tasked by Cummins to make a reality of Rudolph de Harak's "Exploded Engine" concept that now graces the Cummins Corporate Office Building lobby.
Over the years John was active as a volunteer guide and board member for the Columbus Visitors Center. He served as past-president of the Harrison Lake town meeting. He was a member of the Golden K Kiwanis, the Columbus Chapter of the Air Force Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association Columbus Chapter. He also served on the board of directors of the Southwestern Bartholomew Water Corporation. John was an extremely active volunteer at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum since 1983.
He was an accomplished and prolific woodworker and produced many works for friends, family and community. He also enjoyed a lifelong passion for anything to do with airplanes and railroads.
As an author John wrote" My War," a book that chronicled his experiences from enlistment through combat and return home. He produced many articles for The Republic Community Correspondents Panel.
In 2000 he married Ruth Braswell. She passed away in 2009.
John's father, mother and sisters, Mary Jane Berns and Eleanor Ehmann, are deceased. He is survived by his son, Gary Walter and daughter-in-law, Gwen of Dexter, Michigan. Also surviving are his stepdaughter, Judy Braswell who resides in Noblesville, and his stepson, James Braswell of Denver, Colorado.
John was a great son, brother, husband, father, friend and citizen and epitomized the final lines of James Michener's war novel "The Bridges at Toko-Ri," where after the death of a pilot, an admiral asks, "Where do we get such men?"
A memorial service will be conducted at a later date.
Memorials may be made to the Atterbury-Bakalar Museum.
The family will receive online condolences at: www.Myers-Reed.com.
Myers-Reed Chapel is serving the Walter family.
Published on December 18, 2017