Billy Jo "Bill" Walton
July 11, 1922 ~ October 10, 1999

    Tragedy struck the Walton and wagon train families in October 1999 with the passing of BILL WALTON of Haltom City, TX. Following the death of his beloved wife of 50 years, Billie Jo "Jodie" Walton earlier in the year, Bill dealt with various health issues. A couple of days following a gall stone operation, with his recovery going well, he suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack.
    Bill was born July 11, 1922 in Dallas, Texas. He was retired from Bell Helicopter after 30 years of service. He received the Purple Heart while serving as a U. S. Marine. In 1949, Bill was the World Champion Bulldogger. He loved and raised animals such as horses, bulldogs and tropical birds. He was happiest on a trailride or wagon train riding a horse or driving one of his many wagons with one of his teams of horses. Bill was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend.
    During the years that Bill's wife was confined to a nursing home, Bill's first priority was to feed Jodie her lunch each day. Therefore, it was common to see Bill at many a trailride or wagon train and he'd disappear promptly to keep his commitment to his loving wife. Bill was a good friend to many. He'd drop everything to assist a fellow trailrider when the need arose; like when this writer lost an axle to the grips of Fort Worth's potholes. 
Bill is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Linda Jo and Rick Dielman of Austin; sons Jay Lee Walton and Dan Ray Walton of Fort Worth; brothers, Leon G. Walton, Jim R. Walton and Bob G. Walton, all of Fort Worth; grandchildren, Neil Dielman, Jennifer Dielman and Chad Walton. 
A Memorial Service, celebrating Bill's life, was held October 13, 1999, at Shannon North Funeral Chapel on Northside Drive in Fort Worth, TX. A large gathering of wagoneers and trailriders were among the many friends and family in attendance. Granddaughter Jennifer, with her mother Linda's support, shared some of her precious memories of her "Pop" during the service. A sampling of her thoughts included the fact that "Pop" had probably broken every bone in his body through the years. The story for each break usually involved wrestling a steer or a kicking mule; not something as simple as tripping on a rock. "Pop" was her hero in many ways and she would always
remember him routinely showering in the back yard with a bar of soap and the water hose. They especially enjoyed sharing crackers with either longhorn cheese or peanut butter and they always topped it off with a big dose of Blue Bell ice cream. Jennifer will always remember Pop bringing her soccer team bags from McDonald's or some other snack food for energy in their practices and competitions. Since "Pop" lived his life to the fullest; as if he was bull dogging, she said, "I want to live my life like Pop." Bob Wills and other recorded country ballads played during the service; the conclusion of the Memorial Service featured background music of "Back In The Saddle Again" and "Happy Trails To You". Bill will be missed by his many friends on the trails throughout Texas.

Courtesy of The Trailriders Journal