Pastors' Memoirs

Charles Reginald Walton, 1928 - 1995

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 He stood in the middle of the room with his hands folded, watching and waiting for the winning touchdown during the final seconds of a Redskins game. Those who observed him suspected he was praying. Reg Walton had a way of cheering on those around him, whether they were his family, friends, church members, or favored Redskins. He had a way of passing on goodness and courage to others through a caring attitude and encouraging words.

  Reg was born February 21, 1928, in Roanoke, Virginia, where he was educated in the public schools. To complete his secondary education as soon as possible, he finished high school in Madame Viaud’s Preparatory School before departing for classes at Berea College. Reg enlisted in the Army at the close of World War II, serving in the Army Air Corps as an air traffic controller.

  Upon returning home at the end of his tour of duty, Reg immediately entered Roanoke College, where he received his B.A. degree in 1950. After college, Reg was appointed to the Hyco Circuit in South Boston, pastoring five churches while attending Duke University. He was awarded an M.Div. degree from Duke in 1954.

  While attending college, Reg married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Cadd. Married for 47 years, Reg and Ruth formed a partnership in ministry. A gifted professional storyteller and teacher, Ruth shared his love of ministry and mission. Ruth recalls that Reg knew all of his life he was doing exactly what God wanted him to do, stating that God had called him and he had answered. He was proud only in what God had called him to do.

  Reg loved the United Methodist Church and accepted each assignment expecting it to be a "good appointment." The churches he served include New Hope in Stafford County, Gainesville/Sudley in Prince William County, Tabernacle in Poquoson, Chesapeake Avenue in Chesapeake, Lakeside in Richmond, Thalia in Virginia Beach, Bon Air in Richmond, Saint John’s in Springfield, Centenary in Portsmouth, and Dulin in Falls Church. Often Reg found himself caught up in building programs in the places he served. The successful construction projects never distracted him from the real ministry with people. Occasionally his friends would try to encourage him to become more involved in conference politics. Reg observed that he was called to be a pastor, not a politician or administrator. This self-understanding characterized the past two years while he served as chaplain for the V.A. Medical Center in Salem. The veterans would tell you, "He really cared!"

  More than love, Reg had a passion and enthusiasm for his family, including Ruth; his three daughters, Diana, Carol, and Evella; their families; and his sister, Sarah. Their children and grandchildren’s accomplishments reflect Reg and Ruth’s ability to listen, encourage, and share in their sorrows and laughter.

  Reg Walton died suddenly on September 6, 1995. A service of celebration was held at Cave Spring United Methodist Church in Roanoke on September 8, and was conducted by the Rev. Sam E. McPhail, the Rev. William C. Logan, and the Rev. M. Douglas Newman.

  In remembering my friend, I give thanks for a lifetime of ministry faithfully and honorably performed and friendship marked with wisdom and humor. Often I heard as he passed my way, "Love, you’ll do just fine." Reg did fine by us and his Lord.

— Sam E. McPhail



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