The first time I met Walter was on the tennis court. We played for two hours. Then we took a break. That’s when I really started to know him. He joked around and told me how much he loved playing tennis. He told me how beautiful the town was. I thanked him and told him I was the mayor. So he asked me about the town and how it worked. I told him, “it works very slowly.”

We would often meet at the courts and play, then talk about people and the town history and many other things. We started meeting on my porch and he always told me how much he enjoyed it. My wife, Rebecca, would bring him some tea or water. We would sit for one and sometimes two hours.

He introduced us to Sarah, his daughter, and we had a wonderful time going to Mexico to eat. Walter began to feel like family to me and he talked to me like a father. He really cared for me. When I had a problem I would talk to him by phone or he would come to my house. He would give me advice when I asked.

I am sitting here at my desk with tears running down my face just thinking about our last breakfast. He told me what was happening and after we finished breakfast, I took him home. I walked him to his door and said goodbye and thanked him. Then he invited me in. He took my hand. I thought he was going to shake it, but instead he pulled me close and gave me a very long hug. We never looked at each other. I walked away knowing I would never see him again. I cried on my way home.

So I started to look for something nice to say at his memorial and I found this quote on a piece of paper in my Bible.

God saw he was getting tired and the cure was not to be.

So he put his arms around him and whispered “come with me.”

With tearful hearts we watched him fade away

Although we love him dearly we could not make him stay.

A golden heart stopped beating, his working hands are put to rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us that he only takes the best.