Walter W. Stooksberry, 93, of Macon, passed away Tuesday, May 5, 2020. A private burial will be held at Minor Hill Memorial Gardens in Minor Hill, Tennessee. Memorial contributions may be made to All About Animals, 101 Riverside Dr., Macon, GA 31210.
Walter W. Stooksberry was born the youngest of three sons to Mary Belle and Samuel Isaac Stooksberry on December 30th, 1926, in Lawrence County, Tennessee. Together the family farmed a parcel of land in the agricultural community of McCalls during the Great Depression of the 1930s — an account of which Walter compiled in a memoir, written in 1992, which he titled “McCalls”. Like so many who grew up during that period, Walter was relatively unaware of his family’s own poverty; everyone he knew was poor. And yet, he enjoyed the riches and blessings of plentiful food, meaningful work, and a loving family; as well as an abiding faith in the God who created both them, and the land they cultivated; and Who gives it increase during the miraculous cycle of the agricultural calendar.
Walter and his family lived as their ancestors did, without electricity or running water, for most of that decade of the 30s. Toward its end, his older brother, Sam, resolved that he would not spend his entire life behind a plow, staring at a mule’s rear end. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps as war waged in Europe and threatened to embroil America. When he began to send the bulk of his wages back home to his mother and father, the family was “poor no more”.
Walter was a bright and ambitious student, who completed the curriculum at Collinwood High School — a three and half mile walk from home — at age 16. He earned a scholarship to the University of Tennessee; and with Sam’s financial help — and at his insistence — was able to hitch a ride to Knoxville, 300 miles distant, and entered school there in 1943 — ironically, for a lifelong UT football fan, a year in which the Vols did not field a team because of World War II.
For two years Walter travelled back and forth between Knoxville and home. He hitchhiked his first trip back home for Christmas — a two-day trip, sleeping in a barn along the way on a cold December night; a lad who had not yet seen his 17th birthday.
In the spring of 1945, at 18, he entered the military as an Army infantryman. His dream of being a pilot was dashed due to his color-blindness. He trained for the invasion of Japan at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, during the summer of ’45, before being reassigned after the Japanese surrender. He wound up in military government in Nuremberg, Germany, during the War Trials there.
He turned down a military career to finish his degree at UT; after which he found work as a country agent and bought his first car. He met, and married, Jean Warren of Pulaski, Tennessee. Together they would raise a family of four children — Gary, Steve, Susan, and Wade — during a marriage that lasted 61 years, until Jean’s passing in 2011. Walter was hired by the Ralston Purina Co. in the early 50’s, and logged millions of miles of travel as a salesman, and later as director of operations for the southeast Region. He and Jean enjoyed traveling to Hawaii, California, New York, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico with Purina. They later travelled to Europe and took many Caribbean cruises together.
Walter has been an avid and outstanding athlete his entire life; and a champion golfer for 50 years. He has won the Memphis Open Pro-Am (with Masters Champion George Archer), the President’s Cup, Senior Champion, and Member-Member at Idle Hour Country Club, and numerous other charity tournaments over the course of the years. His enjoyment of the game lasted until the end of his life.
Walter. W. Stooksberry was a man of deep but unpretentious beliefs, who was not bashful about stating his faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of the Living God. He has entered eternity to share it with his Lord and loved ones.
Walter was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Jean Warren Stooksberry; his grandson, Wade Stooksberry; and his two brothers, Robert Stooksberry and Sam David Stooksberry.
Walter is survived by children, Gary W. Stooksberry (Linda) of Germantown, Tennessee, Steven Walter Stooksberry (Marty) of Louisville, Kentucky, Susan Ellen Stooksberry Cook (Buster) of Cartersville, Georgia, and W. Wade Stooksberry (Trena) of Macon; six grandchildren, Wilson Stooksberry, Max Stooksberry, Dennis Stooksberry, and Jacob, Shelby, and Ben Cook; and two great-grandchildren, McLean and Hayes Stooksberry.
Please visit www.hartsmort.com to express condolences.
Hart’s at the Cupola, Hart's Mortuary and Cremation Center, 6324 Peake Rd, Macon, GA 31210 has charge of the arrangements.
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All About Animals
101 Riverside Drive, Macon GA 31201