Walton Avery Johnson Jr., 63, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. He was born Friday, Dec. 30, 1949, at Beebe Medical Center, Lewes. Walton was the only child of Walton A. Johnson Sr. and the late Joyce Lorraine Hudson Johnson.
Walton was a take-charge and get-it-done person who believed in leading by example and not asking someone to do something he would not do himself. He believed in the values that Scouting teaches and has inspired others as he has tried to live his own life by these values. His thoughtful leadership, commitment and enthusiasm helped improved the lives of many. Walton dedicated his entire life to his family, the fire service, Boy Scouts and the Masonic lodge.
Walton grew up in Frankford and attended the former John M. Clayton High School where he was a member of the class of 1967. He was one of two chosen to attend Boys State 1966 as representative of John M. Clayton High School. In the fall of 1967 Walton was in the first class to attend Delaware Technical & Community College as part of the University of Delaware Parallel Division in Georgetown. He was elected vice president of the first Student Government Association at Delaware Tech. Unbeknownst to him, during his first year at Delaware Tech he would meet his future wife. As a sophomore in the college’s parallel division, Walton was the editor-in-chief of the first student newspaper, The Satellite. Upon completion of two years in the parallel division at Delaware Tech he matriculated to the University of Delaware Newark campus.
On March 6, 1970, Walton married Janet Lee Challman of Millsboro. They made their home in Newark until Walton graduated the University of Delaware in 1971 with a bachelor of arts degree. After graduation, the couple returned to Millsboro where Walton worked first at a local newspaper, then at Sussex Trust and Farmer’s Bank of the State of Delaware and later with New York Life Insurance Company and C. L. McCabe of Selbyville.
He started his career at Delaware Technical & Community College, Georgetown campus, in 1983 as an adjunct English instructor; then became a counselor and an academic advisor while also teaching English and American history. Walton retired in 2004 as registrar with over 20 years of service at Delaware Tech. After retirement, he was appointed to the Delaware Technical & Community College Educational Foundation’s Development Council and to the State of Delaware’s Heritage Commission.
As a fifth-generation firefighter, his lifetime volunteer fire service began in the Millsboro Fire Department. He was president of the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company from 1981-83. Walton chaired the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee of the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company in 1983. He produced, researched and authored a detailed historical narrative and photographic history titled Unselfish Devotion. In 1986, Walton became president of the Sussex County Firemen’s Association and president of the Delaware Volunteer Firemen’s Association in 1990. While serving as president he played an instrumental role in negotiating a compromise that led to the creation of the nation’s first statewide paramedic system. For his fire service dedication, Walton was inducted into the Delaware Firefighter’s Hall of Fame and was a recipient of the Congressional Fire Service Institute’s Special Achievement Award for Leadership.
Walton was actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America throughout his life. He was the first Boy Scout from Frankford to earn the rank of Eagle Scout in 1965 and went on to earn four additional palms. He also earned the God and Country Award in 1966. As an adult, he was active on the local, district, and council levels where he held numerous leadership positions. During his tenure as scoutmaster of Troop 258, he was awarded the National Eagle Scout Association’s Scoutmaster Award of Merit. He was a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association, and he was the recipient of the highest district and council awards that can be given by the Boy Scouts of America - the District’s Award of Merit and the Council’s Silver Beaver Award.
Walton was also a member of Georgetown’s Franklin Lodge No. 12, A.F. & A.M., for over 40 years, a member of the Scottish & York Rite bodies, and NUR Shrine.
Walton’s strong faith is reflected in his 50-year association in the Methodist Church. He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, Millsboro, and certified lay speaker of the United Methodist Church.
Walton was preceded in death by his mother, Joyce Lorraine Hudson Johnson, in 2001. He is survived by his father, Walton A. Johnson Sr.; his devoted wife for almost 43 years, Janet Lee Challman Johnson; daughter Michelle Lee Johnson Truitt and her husband Robert B. Truitt Jr. of Millsboro; son Walton A. Johnson III and his wife Lisa Spicer Johnson of Milford; daughter Ellen Lorraine Johnson McCabe and her husband Keith M. McCabe of Millsboro; four grandchildren, Lindy Elizabeth Truitt, Leigha Ellen Truitt, Colby Brooks Johnson and Kylie Ann McCabe; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
A viewing will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19, at Frankford Volunteer Fire Company and 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20, at Frankford United Methodist Church with the funeral service beginning at 2 p.m. Interment will be at Millsboro Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Walton A. Johnson Jr. Scholarship Fund at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus, P.O. Box 610, Georgetown, DE 19947. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Watson Funeral Home, Millsboro.