Cover photo for Michael William Walters's Obituary
Michael William Walters Profile Photo
1946 Michael 2023

Michael William Walters

December 20, 1946 — March 25, 2023

Michael William Walters, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle passed away on March 25, 2023 at his home in Atlanta, GA surrounded by family. Mike had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and ALS and, in spite of this dual diagnosis, he danced all the way until his last day. He was 76 years old.

Mike was born on December 20, 1946 in Rimersburg, Pennsylvania to Jean and Bill Walters. The second of six siblings, Mike was a talented athlete, playing basketball, football, and baseball-even going so far as trying out for the Pittsburgh Pirates (he didn't make it!). After graduating from Union High School in 1964, Mike enrolled at the University of Virginia. There, he joined Pi Kappa Alpha, played more pool than studied, barely made it through his freshman year, but made many lifelong friends, and, ultimately, graduated in 1968. During his sophomore year, Mike met his future wife, Joan, on a blind date; though they were separated by the Atlantic Ocean for a year and the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line for three more, their love persevered and they married in 1969.

After their wedding, Mike and Joan moved to Atlanta, Georgia so Mike could attend Georgia State University. There, he earned his MBA, interviewed at The Coca-Cola Company, and secured his first position in Finance. It wasn't long before his exceptional interpersonal skills were noticed, and he moved into Human Resources. Admired by colleagues for his intellect, he was also loved by many for the way he interacted with and helped others no matter who they were or where they were in the hierarchy. In the course of his 28 years at Coke, Mike worked his way up to become Vice President of Human Resources and served under CEOs Roberto Goizueta and Doug Ivester. In 2000, Mike retired to pursue his personal passions. Mike volunteered his talents to improve public education in the state, led campaigns for clean water and responsible development in Rabun County, Georgia, and became a committed member of the neighborhood associations for the places he resided.

In 1976, Mike's first daughter, Carolyn Janette, was born; Meredith Ann came three years later in 1979. Mike was a loving father, educating his girls in fairness, generosity, Bruce Springsteen, golf, and skiing. He also loved his golden retrievers, walking in the woods, and most of all, his family.

Once Mike retired, he and Joan enjoyed spending time together at their places on Lake Burton and in Snowmass, Colorado. They continued to travel around the world to play golf with their dear friends, spend time with their family, and explore.

Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2017 and ALS in September of 2022. He continued to be active up until the very end, dancing, singing, and loving all those around him.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Jean Walters, and siblings Christine, Joel, and Steve Walters. Mike is survived by his wife of 53 years, Joan Shirkey Walters, daughter Carolyn Walters McCarthy and husband Neal McCarthy, daughter Meredith Walters and husband Helton Felix da Silva, grandsons Liam and Benjamin McCarthy, sister Judy Olderman, brother Jon Walters, sister-in-law Yoshiko Walters, sister-in-law Barbara Shirkey, and sister-in-law Linda Shirkey and partner J Tempesta.

Details for the Celebration of Mike's Life can be found at In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Mike's memory to the ALS Association or the Alzheimer's Association.

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


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