Cover photo for Walter Wrightson's Obituary
Walter Wrightson Profile Photo
1918 Walter 2015

Walter Wrightson

August 25, 1918 — October 2, 2015

Walter Wrightson, born in Mobile, Alabama on August 25, 1918, to Captain Walter Wrightson from York, England and Elsie Wrightson, formally Elsie Mary Taylor, from Cambridge England, died in his sleep, at the age of 97, on the morning of October 2, 2015 in Decatur, Georgia.

A brilliant star's journey has ended.

Walter was preceded in death by his extraordinary and devoted wife of 67 years, Betty Jean Wrightson. He is survived by two fine sons, Walter (Skip) Wrightson, Jr. of Albuquerque, NM and Glenn Steven Wrightson of Atlanta, Georgia, two grandchildren, the son and daughter of Skip Wrightson, Dylan Parker Wrightson and Chelsea Wrightson-Wood and a great-grandchild, daughter of Dylan Wrightson, Paige Wrightson.

Walter's mother died when he was young and with his father being a merchant marine, his older sister Ruby Wrightson helped raise him.

Walter's father, Captain Wrightson, was a merchant marine and sailed the seas, for some 60 years, providing the opportunity for Walter to be first mate during his school's summer breaks and for longer durations after graduating from the University of Alabama when he was 18 years old.

The exposure to hard work and solid commitment required on the 3 and 4 mast schooners his father captained, fostered Walter's "can do this" approach to life, the acceptance of what will be – will be and, the desire and ability to identify and appreciate the positive elements of all situations.

While Walter never believed one could make a silk purse from a sow's ear, he knew that from one, he could make a respectable purse. Walter was smart and knew how to do things; as he was so inclined.

Walter learned at a young age that forgoing ones own desires and considering external matters, allow one to know when to tack ship and hoist the main for smooth sailing. He would remind his sons that at sea, the ship is the most important thing there is and, instead of looking inward, focus on "out there".

Walter possessed a "big picture" perspective and a sound positive outlook. He would not be detoured or distracted with inconsistencies and obstacles.

Walter liked to tell youthful fun and daring ocean-sailing stories. He would modestly explained that he was best liked by the ship's crew as he was the rum boy pouring each crewmember a cup of rum after completing a voyage and unloading the ship. He was proud that his father depended upon him to inspect deep inside "below" before purchasing sea bound ships. Walter sailed often in the Caribbean, learned Spanish that he enjoyed speaking throughout his life and was most fond of Cuba and Cubans.

His childhood home had a tennis court and he became a proficient tennis player and was an excellent swimmer and student.

Walter would tell the fun stories about his life and his friends usually giving others the main stage. He would tell how upon returning from the war in 1945, in NYC, he and some "Army buddies" hopped into a taxis to find and visit the Waldorf Astoria only to learn, after the taxis made an immediate u-turn, the hotel was across the street. Once, when asked if he wanted to be an organ donor, he replied, "not today". He talked of how early in his career as an auditor, the audits in the fun cities, such as San Francisco always took longer than audits in, say, Nebraska.

In his later years, when asked his age, he would state "as old as my tongue and little older than my teeth". On his 90th birthday he suggested turning the "9" candle upside down.

From his British parents and sister, he learned no-nonsense solid values and that you never be mistaken as a quitter. Of course, his last name was Wrightson and right he was on most every occasion: Mainly, respecting the human qualities in everyone, no matter what their background, place or position in life. To him, everyone mattered.

While to him everyone mattered, he was an avid believer that nice people are smart because they are smart enough to be nice.

And nice he was to his beloved wife of 67 years, Betty Jean Wrightson, who died last year. Walter met Betty Jean on a Sunday, did not see her the next day and, they married "across state lines" by a Justice of the Peace on Tuesday. He loved her dearly and was a devoted clean-living family man.

People liked Walter because he was a handsome good man, with a warm smile, smart clear-blue eyes and a friendly heart. Walter was considerate, thoughtful and kind. He would not partake himself until others had theirs.
He was quick to offer to take someone sailing or stop for an ice cream treat.
And he would always say, "what can I do for you?"

His favorite sayings included "so I took the $10, 000 and went to Bermuda" (which he may have actually done) and, for tasks as hand, he would say "let's have less talky talky and more doey doey"

He claimed to have learned that expression when his Army commanding officer realized that the 600 men whom Walter was training to ride motorcycles, were not making progress so he turned to the microphone and said "men, get on your motorcycles".

He advocated action over words.

Walter never missed the opportunity to help others in need in the most unpretentious and selfless ways. One of his greatest attributes was his ability to help someone in need with seemingly effortless brotherhood care. People were comfortable to be near him as he demonstrated strong Christian values through kindness and deeds. He naturally made helping someone seem as they were helping him for he enjoyed doing for others when he had the capacity they were without.

Walter actively served in the Army for 6 years before and during WWII and, for most of that time, was stationed in the South Pacific Islands. He retired, as a decorated serviceman from the Army reserves some 24 years later as a Lt. Col.

Being industrious and resourceful, Walter did a variety of things and to share the valuable experience of county life, he moved his family to a gentleman's farm in Gwinnett County, GA. There he built a horse barn (he loved to ride the Tennessee walker), made a baseball field for his sons, taught Sunday School, cut the fire wood and, fenced the property all while working as the senior accountant at Fulton County GA in Atlanta for the Department of Welfare.

In years past, the poor in Fulton County knew the Wrightson name, as for years he signed the County's welfare checks. Walter stopped working in an office when he retired from the Fulton County Government and, afterwards, very infrequently wore a necktie.

For a few years, Walter owned a business called "The Diamond Q" located on Gordon St. in West End. While some disagreed, he called it a family billiard parlor.
After retiring (retired early with active Army service years' credit) he commented that he had been so busy working he had forgotten there was so much else to do.

He traveled much with his spouse, over seas and domestically, built two wooden sail boats (compete with wooden masts with internal halyards) grew flowers and vegetables like he had a magic green thumb, and developed a stock trading analysis system using the relationship of the change in the daily volume traded to the change of the daily share price.

Walter was an artist; he was reflective, modest and congenial. His painted ships under sail in oils and made the wooden picture frames. He likely enjoyed exploring in Cubism because of his ability to view matters from different perspectives.

Walter was the best father, working to expose his sons to many interesting and varied experiences including taking them to the 24-hour Sebring Road Race, having them pick cotton for little pay to learn what really hard work was like, and providing valuable instruction by example. Walter was never seen mad, never uttered foul language and never belittled or criticized anyone aside from calling a boisterous neighbor "bugfuzz" one time; maybe twice.

In his senior years, Walter would tell folks to call him "Old Salt Walt".

Old Salt Walt was a great man and will be sorely missed. He left a lasting positive impression on all who had the benefit of knowing him. His life was one of answering the unmistakable summons of highest human decency. Sadly, his brilliant star lighted life-journey has ended.

A graveside service will be held for the passing of Walter Wrightson at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, October 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people to be thoughtful of, and kind and helpful to one another.

Feel free to leave the family your condolences via the guest book provided.

Funeral Home:
A. S. Turner & Sons
2773 North Decatur Road
Decatur, GA

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Wrightson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, October 5, 2015

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Westview Cemetery

, Lula, GA 30554

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Westview Cemetery

, Lula, GA 30554

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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