Callie Ann Tard Walton was a caring and loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, guardian, counselor and a loyal friend to many. She peacefully passed away at home in her sleep in the early dawn on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at age 93 after a long and storied lifetime of experiences.
An actual New Year’s baby, Callie’s remarkable life began on January 1, 1930, at St. Louis City Hospital. She was the daughter of Theodore and Bessie Welch Tard and the youngest of five children, which included brothers John and Richard, and sisters Stella and Cleora, who preceded her in death.
She graduated as a stellar student who loved math from Vashon High School in 1948. At her graduation ceremony, Callie delivered a notable speech depicting the life of the famous black actress Lena Horne and decades later, would often recite the opening line, "One of our most famous Negro actresses was none other than Lena Horne."
Following graduation, her first job was as a soda fountain clerk at the local drug store. She proudly recalls being promoted from making banana splits to selling money orders once the store manager recognized her outstanding math skills. She married Eugene Atkins and bore her first son, Zachary Mal, in December 1948. She remarried Elbert Walton in May 1959 and bore two sons, Gary Antonio, and Jon Elliot. Elbert had three children from his previous marriage, Elbert Jr., Arlene and Delores, whom Callie helped raise as her own.
In 1955, Callie began a successful civilian career as Chief Supply Specialist for the U.S. Army’s Aviation System Command (AVSCOM). Using her proficiency in mathematics and organizational skills, her career path steadily blossomed at AVSCOM over 30 years until her retirement in 1985.
As a baby, she was baptized as a Catholic and developed her strong Catholic faith, serving and worshiping at St. Alphonsus “the Rock” Catholic Church. She regularly participated in mass services at the Rock and served as President of the church’s Friendship Club.
Callie was always a patient and caring companion, from her sons to grandchildren to close friends. Everyone always left her company feeling better than before.
Callie also had a remarkable ability to mold her household and blended family into a strong, cohesive unit while stressing the importance of education, hard work, and honesty. She was an avid baseball fan and her family’s biggest cheerleader where she faithfully supported all their athletic competitions. However, education was the top priority for Callie. She often told her sons, “You want to be a ‘star’ on the team, be a ‘star’ in the classroom FIRST.”
Callie Ann Walton was unmistakably the proud matriarch and oldest surviving member of this branch of the Walton family tree. Her strong presence and maternal guidance will forever be cherished by her sons Zachary, Gary and Jon and Elbert Jr., daughter Arlene, and her granddaughters Lindsey, Chelsea, Rochelle, Angela and Serena; grandsons Johnathan, Henry and David. Her daughter Delores, granddaughter Rhonda and grandson Elbert III preceded her in death. In addition to her immediate family, her legacy will be praised by a substantial host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Rest in peace, Callie!