Teacher, artist dies at age 82

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Features Editor

The death of Edwin D. Walter on Monday sent ripples of sadness through several generations.

There is no way to know how many lives "Mr. Walter" touched, but every

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one of them is sure to feel a void left by his passing.

The beloved professor taught art for more than 50 years, 39 of those at Troy State University.

He came on the scene at Troy State Teacher’s College (1959) just in time to guide a generation of college students through the turbulent


The art department was then housed in barracks in the hollow behind Bibb Graves Hall. The old building was soon dubbed Walter Hall and Walter’s World soon became home to many students, many of whom had little or no training in art. Their experience with the popular professor was their first dabbling in a foreign world. Walter’s World was a familiar and comfortable place to be.

He let students be their own people. He didn’t try to fit them into this mold or that mold. He let them be themselves and express themselves through art.

"Who" Walter let his students be is exactly "who" he was – a unique individual who wasn’t afraid to march to the beat of a different drummer.

Dr. David Dye, dean of communication and fine arts at TSU, was a colleague and friend of Walter.

"Ed was known far and wide as a master craftsman of glass," Dye said. "His work can be found in museums all around the country. But, more than that, he was, and I say this in the most positive way, a truly unique, lovable and eccentric artist who knew exactly what he wanted to do with his work. He was a model teacher and his students loved him. He had a positive influence on so many young people, as a professor and as a person."

Dye said Walter was an innovative member of the Troy State faculty and he made a lasting contribution to the university’s art department.

And, he was a contributing member of the community.

"Ed’s positive attitude and wry sense of humor could fill a room," he said. "He had a most generous spirit and he willingly shared his tremendous artistic talent with the community. At Christmas, I always enjoyed driving by his house and seeing those wonderful glass icicles hanging from his house. His work was a gift to the community."

Dye said many people will miss Walter, professionally and personally.However, it was almost impossible to know Walter professionally and not know him personally. He was that kind of man.

"He was a dear, dear friend of mine and I will miss him greatly," Dye said. "He was dearly loved by all those fortunate enough to know him."

Walter is survived by his wife, Millie, two daughers, Linda Walter, Troy and Carolyn Walter, Eureka Springs, Ark. and one son, David Walter, Troy.

Graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. today at Green Hills Memorial Park.