January 9, 1952 – May 10, 2019
Our much-loved father, friend and colleague, John Spencer Walters of Logan, Utah, passed away at Terrace Grove in the early morning of May 10, 2019. John was born January 9, 1952 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. As a child, he became an avid Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings fan, and his love of baseball and hockey continued throughout his life. John graduated from Sacred Heart Academy High School in Mount Pleasant, where he played on the golf team that placed third in the state tournament in 1970. John received a BS in Political Science in 1975 (Cum Laude), a Master of Science in Library Science in 1982 and a Master of Arts in History in 1983, all at Central Michigan University.
John had an active and highly successful professional career. He was Assistant Documents Librarian at the University of Alabama, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library in Tuscaloosa, Alabama from 1984-1985; Documents/Special Collections Librarian at the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point from 1985 to 1987; Documents/Reference Librarian at the University of Richmond from 1987 to 1990; University Librarian, Government Documents Coordinator and Adjunct Professor at University of Central Florida from 1990-1995; and Department Head for Government Information/Maps and Regional Depository Librarian at the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University from 1995 until his retirement in 2013. John wrote two books, U.S. Government Publication: Ideological Development and Institutional Politics from the Founding to 1970 and Langston Hughes and the South African Drum Generation: The Correspondence (with Shane Graham), as well as numerous papers in academic and literary journals. He was a four-time recipient of the Bernard M. Fry/Journal of Government Information Award, which is given annually for the year’s best article. John is the only author to have won it more than once.
After retiring from USU, John dedicated much of his time to creative nonfiction writing. He had several humorous articles published in on-line literary magazines, including The Writing Disorder, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Defenestration: A Literary Magazine Dedicated to Humor. He remained a student of American history, an independent / foreign film aficionado, a sports fan, and a rock-and-roll music enthusiast throughout his life.
John was preceded in death by his father and mother, Lewis “Pete” Spencer Walters and Frances Anna Kielp Walters, his grandfather and grandmother Charles (Casimir) and Sophia Kielp, his grandfather and grandmother Thurman T. and Lillie Mae Sturgeon, and his much-loved uncle Adam and his wife Blanche. He is survived by his beloved daughter, Samantha Francis Walters, and his son-in-law Woodrow Kellock Walters.
The family would like to extend their sincere thanks to the nurses, CNAs, LPNs, administrators, transition and social services teams and staff of Sunshine Terrace, Terrace Grove, and Sunshine Home Health & Hospice for their professional, loving, and compassionate care. We would also like to thank special friends who came to visit and help John and his family navigate his unexpected, quick paced, yet determined “walk into the woods.” A most grateful thanks to the Terrace Grove staff and close friends who helped his family stage an early wedding for Samantha and Woody so that he could be present to toast the new couple.
A memorial service will be held at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish during the summer or early fall. An announcement will be placed in the paper prior to the service so that friends and family may join together to celebrate the life of John Spencer Walters, who was a true gentleman until the very end. He will be dearly missed.