March 20 07:58 AM
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Walton family thankful for community support

Dear Editor,

We can not express how thankful we are for the extraordinary outpouring of love and support our family has felt in the final days and after the death of our Dad, husband, and grandfather, Bob Walton.

We have been overwhelmed with the kindnesses so many of you have shown in these difficult days. He was for each of us, our hero. In different ways he struck each of our lives with a cord that will last an eternity. He created the symphony that soothed our souls, lifted our spirits, challenged our determination and kept us in touch with the really important things in life. One of those really important things for him was this community and everyone in it.

Bob Walton spent most of his life in Almont. Indeed, he spent most of his life on the farm where he also spent his final days. He knew and loved this place and this community. He treasured lifelong friendships. He deeply celebrated with others and mourned with others. He felt a responsibility and more importantly comfort and deep satisfaction in helping those that crossed his path and were in need.

Bob was a successful dairy farmer. Even from his earliest days on the farm he influenced the lives of many young men as they worked on the farm and learned from Bob. They learned more than farming. They learned integrity, responsibility, a love for hard work, a joy of living and kindness extended to all. They also learned to squelch frustration and interpret a loud whistle and many mysterious hand signals as Bob communicated directions to employees through the roar of farm machinery. (For that we are sorry. We endured those hand signals and whistles too).

Bob gave back to the community through civic service, participation and generosity. We can no longer recall the number of homecoming floats built in our barns, the number of hay rides, sleigh rides, and elementary school trips to the farm he hosted. He loved Almont football and was present at games even in his final year of life.

Bob loved to tell stories that were laced with details of the history of Almont, the surrounding communities and most importantly the people he knew and loved. We love many of you through relationships. Even more of you we love because his stories of you made us cherish you in unimaginable ways. You were the people that made his life rich and complete. We owe too many of you to list.

In the final days of his life, we congregated in the living room with him. Spending long nights at his side, we watched the sun rise over Almont many days. We looked at this small community just waking up to the splendor of a new day and knew he would miss you all greatly. We looked at this community and were thankful for all you had given him and us. And really, that is all there is to say...thank-you. In his life and in his death you have cared for him and you have cared for us. No family could ask for more. Our hope is that your life has been or will be blessed by a Bob Walton and you will know the love of others we have experienced.

The family of Bob Walton, Almont
November 19, 2008

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