Published March 2, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated March 2, 2023 at 9:49 a.m.
Obituary written by Jim:
Asa James "Jim" Walton Jr., having lived out his scheduled days on this earth, died on February 26, 2023. Jim always saw fit to lift up those around him and, as usual for him, when asked how he was doing, he always answered with a warm smile, “just fine for a man of my age and condition,” no matter what the condition.
Jim was born in Wilmington, N.C., on October 17, 1942, the middle son of Asa and Maybelle Lanier Walton of Maple Hill, N.C. He graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1961, then went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his formal education when he graduated from North Carolina State University with a master’s degree in public administration/public affairs.
Jim moved his family from North Carolina in February 1978 to pursue a role as a deputy commissioner in the Vermont State government and retired 25 years later, having spent his career as a public servant in Vermont. During his tenure in state government, Jim served four different administrations, both Democrat and Republican, and three different governors, including the state’s first female governor, Madeleine Kunin, and the state’s longest serving governor, Howard Dean. It was governor Richard Snelling who appointed him as deputy commissioner of mental health and later as the commissioner of corrections. At the time of his retirement, Jim was known as the state’s longest serving commissioner of public safety and colonel in the Vermont State Police, serving nearly 17 years in that role.
Jim was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints for more than 50 years. Among his many enjoyable callings, he served as the stake president of the Montpelier Vermont Stake for nearly 10 years, and with his wife, Barbara, as a counselor in the New Hampshire Mission presidency for three years. He stated that his most challenging and enjoyable assignment may well have been his calling as a co-teacher with his wife, Barbara, while they served as primary teachers for vivacious 6- to 8-year-old children in the Montpelier ward.
In addition to the blessings of an esteemed career at the state, his gift of storytelling, his love of service in his community and his devotion to his church and family, Jim was blessed —with what he called “his claim to fame” — to have married not one but two lovely women who were far more talented and gifted than he.
Jim lost his first wife, Patricia Stebbins Walton, after 28 wonderful years. Pat was the mother to his four children, Charles Anthony "Tony" Walton, husband to Lisa Jodan Walton of Texas; James Christopher "Chris" Walton, husband to Jenny Foster Walton of Texas; Elisabeth Lane "Lisa" Walton-Probst, wife to Greg Probst of Pa.; and Patricia Mae "Patty: Houston, wife to Lawrence Houston of Vermont.
A few years after Pat passed, Jim married his wife, Barbara Guerrant Walton, a retired RN, caregiver, homemaker, helpmeet and sweetheart. They shared 22 years together, and as Jim said, “My beloved Barbara provided me with dignity, love, meticulous care, but, most of all, she extended my life.” Barbara is the mother of Jim’s stepson Arcand "Axel" Arnold, husband to Amy Stacy Arnold of Texas.
His much beloved grandchildren are Victoria Alexis Walton Houston Dobbs "Tori," wife to Taylor Dobbs; Madison "Maddie" R. Houston, Jackson Cole "Cole" Walton, Benjamin Brewer "Brew" Walton, Grayson Luke Walton and Willa Hunter Elizabeth Walton, all living in Vermont. The rest of the grandchildren, Amaliya Arnold Geroski and spouse, Kyle, and a great-grandson, Klein Geroski, as well as Arcand Joseph Arnold, Azlynd "Azzie" Arnold, Aenias Arnold and Addawynn Arnold live in the Fort Worth area of Texas.
Jim was predeceased in death by both his parents, Asa and Maybelle Walton, and his two brothers and sisters-in-law, Forrest L. and Joyce Howard Walton and Stanley D. and Joyce K. Ortega Walton.
In addition to his children, their spouses and grandchildren, he is survived by his sister- and brother-in-law, Carolyn and David Cohen, as well as his nieces and nephews: Forrest Lynn Walton Jr., Paul K. Walton, Kyle R. Walton, Connie R. Walton Pendergrass, and Philip B. Walton and their respective spouses and families.
It was Jim’s belief and testimony that every single person who ever lived on this earth will have the same opportunity to present his or her case before the Lord. And further, that all who have lived until adulthood (emotionally and intellectually) will be found “wanting” and will have to rely upon the good grace of the resurrected Lord in order to regain the presence of God the Father. It was Jim’s advice that each of us serve those in need around you, pray often, read the scriptures frequently and strive to live by the counsel contained therein.
With that in mind, Jim was fairly sure he would be trying to make his case for admission to a home with his Heavenly Father before St. Peter and, should that effort fail, plans to file an appeal directly to our Lord Jesus Christ. He relayed that any prayers on his behalf might be needed and would be greatly appreciated by both him and his family.
A graveside service will be held later this spring at the Maple Street Cemetery, Waterbury Center, Vt. There will be no viewing or wake prior to the graveside service. Condolences can be sent to Barbara Walton and Family at 168 Shaw Heights, Waterbury Center, VT, 05677.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Wounded Warrior Project at woundedwarriorproject.org.