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My Uncle Walter Died

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.



My Uncle Walter

My beloved Uncle Walter DeCock died the other day. He was 63 years old. He died of lung cancer.

I first met Walter DeCock in 1998 at our aviation business, which was located at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport. He came in asking for something, but I couldn't understand what it was at first. I finally deciphered that what he wanted was to earn a Jet Type Rating in a Cessna Citation, for which my company offered training. Walter spoke 11 languages—including Swahili—but none of them well.

Walter had no concrete plans to fly a Citation. He just thought a Jet Type Rating would be impressive on his pilot's license. He got the rating, and we became fast friends. I've never had a better friend than Walter DeCock. After the Payne Stewart plane crash many people called to offer me their condolences and support, but Walter was in my office the next morning where he whipped out his checkbook and said, "You're going to need money to get through this tragedy," and he wrote out a check to my company for $100,000 marked as a loan—I paid him back a few months later. That was the most genuine and unselfish gesture I have ever received; it was one of the most poignant moments of my life.

Walter Decock

Walter grew up in a orphanage in Belgium. He was dropped off there at an early age. I don't think he ever knew who his parents were. After reaching adulthood, Walter served in the military as a soldier. He would eventually become a NATO Commander.

After his military service, Walter took to the high seas as a merchant marine. He traveled the world aboard huge cargo ships. At some point, an old acquaintance recruited him as a mercenary soldier in the Angolan Civil War. It was there that he was captured and tortured while a prisoner of war.

After he was freed, Walter ended up a meandering beach bum on the coast of Spain. He had no home, no employment, and no shoes. But he said he was plenty happy there, nonetheless. On the beach one day he met a woman and they struck up a romance. Little did he know that this woman was one of the wealthiest women in Germany. She dressed him up in the finest suits and bought him a few sport cars.

Walter was a handsome and charming man. He was a manly man. And always the life of the party. Walter used to hang out in Monaco with Prince Rainier and his daughters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie. He also came to know Princess Di quite well. Well enough to spend time in the Mediterranean on her yacht.

In spite of this life of luxury, Walter never forgot where he came from and he was unfailingly gregarious—and even generous— to each and every person with whom he came in contact. Walter and I had many great experiences together. He invited me on a number of trips, and he accompanied me to quite a few aviation conventions. He also began coming with me a few times a year when I would visit my home towns, the twin cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Michigan. He eventually married my Aunt and became my Uncle Walter. From then on he no longer called me James very often—he addressed me as Nephew.


I'll Miss My Uncle Walter

Walter was a heavy drinker and a heavy smoker. More days than not ended up with him drunk. And he cussed like a sailor. Of course, he was a sailor. He would drop the F-Bomb and the MF-Bomb as a part of normal conversation, even with people he had just met. Oddly enough, he pulled it off. Sure, some were taken aback at first. But everybody loved him! The only complaint I ever heard about Walter was, "I can't understand him!"

Walter was an incredible character. I never knew anybody who was more fun to be with—or more intelligent—or more witty. Walter had little sayings, such as the way he would introduce himself, "I'm Walter and I love myself." He loved things that were "Simple but Good." And his favorite: "Boys will be Boys."

Walter came with me and my entourage to Atlanta for an aviation convention. The NBAA Convention is one of the largest in world—only three cities have a convention floor large enough to hold it. We walked all day on thin carpet laid over concrete, and at the end of the day our feet hurt. We repaired to the hotel lounge to have a few cold beers and in came my third wife. She said, "James, you are coming up to our room now." I replied, "I'm going to have a couple beers with Walter, but I'll be up soon." She responded that I was coming up to the room NOW. Walter chimed in with, "Let James stay awhile. Boys will be boys!" She replied, "Boys will be divorced boys!" Walter told that story in my presence many times. I, of course, stayed with Walter. And I, of course, became a divorced boy.

My Aunt that Walter married died a few years ago. Walter had a fabulous home in the Majorca Islands; a home near Daytona Beach on the point where the intercoastal waterway flows into the Atlantic Ocean; and a wild piece of property in Florida that looked like Florida must have looked like before the white man came. On the latter two Walter had army tanks positioned on the front lawn. Walter was very much into guns and armaments. He had a 50 Caliber machine gun he played around with for fun.

Walter owned many vintage cars and boats, and new luxury cars as well. He let me drive his brand new Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces on a number of occasions. Everywhere he went, people never forgot him or his name. We would travel to a new city and within a couple of days I would hear people greet him by name in uncanny numbers.

Walter traveled the world more than any man I have known. I never knew where he would call me from next. Walter called me from Tehran, Baghdad, Riyadh, Timbuktu, Kabul, Dubai, and countless other places.

Walter and I may have seemed like an odd couple. I am a Christian, and Walter did not believe in God. He did soften his stance after he got sick. I worked on him as best I could. He was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago and flew to Hamburg, Germany, where he owned a home and was personal friends with what he said was the best cancer surgeon in the world. The surgeon cut out half of one lung and told Walter not to ever use chemotherapy or radiation—that both were poison. Walter lived another year or two. He eventually developed visible tumors on his neck and shoulders that I touched. He passed on a few days ago. I loved my Uncle Walter. I will miss him very much. They broke the mold after they made Walter. He was truly one of a kind.



James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 02, 2012:

Jeff Smith— Hello. I am well pleased that you made your presence known to me after you stumbled upon this Hub. I am glad you found it.

I love my Uncle Walter. I am sorry you did not know he had passed on. Walter had friends scattered all over the world, even in Africa and in the Middle East. I know he had a good friend in the UK that I met once. I believe his name was Geoffrey something.

And yes indeed, Walter DeCock was an extraordinary man by any measure. I am aware that he spent time almost each year in Majorca. Nobody ever forget Walter, that's for sure. Larger than life, as you say. I always loved being with Uncle Walter. What a fun dude; and unpredictable.

Thank you for engaging. I am glad you loved him. All the best to you.


Jeff Smith (uk) on October 01, 2012:

Hi, James.

Just a further to my last submission.

I came accross your hub by sheer chance the other day and I was totally taken aback by your news of Walters death.

I met Walter when we both lived in Puerto-de-Andratx, Mallorca, Spain and we became close friends.

He was and will remain the most extraordinary character that I ever had the pleasure to meet.

In the years that I knew him, the conservations that we had together, it is no exaggeration to say that the story of his life would have made a 'best-seller', without a single doubt.

What a man. Larger than life, I think.

He was the sort of person you wished would always be around, somewhere?, no?.

I could say so much more, but thats about it.

All-the-best-to-you, James.

Jeff Smith.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 30, 2012:

Jeff Smith (uk)— Thank you! Thank you very much. :)

Jeff Smith (uk) on September 29, 2012:

Farewell my dear old friend. Walter.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 06, 2010:

Hi Geoff! I remember you. Walter always spoke fondly of you. I knew him quite a while before I could understand him well. He was a great character. I'll bet when he owned the bar he was into the inventory on occasion. :D

Thank you for your note, Geoff. It's nice to hear from you.

GEOFF ROSENBLOOM on July 06, 2010:

I only heard about Walters death today and was very sad. He was a good friend and a great character. He worked for me in Glasgow in aircraft sales, but the one problem he had was that few people could understand what he was saying on the telephone. It was easier when you were face to face and you could read his lips. This was before he moved to Spain and opened the bar there. Geoff

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 02, 2010:

ahorseback— Yes, it is great. We are richer because of them. Thank you for reading and expresing your sympathies.

ahorseback on July 01, 2010:

Isnt it great to have had people like this in our lives, sorry bout your loss..but we are richer for thier love

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 29, 2010:

Michael D'Heuvaert/DeCock— I am sorry that you lost your father. I remember well when you and Uncle Walter met. I think I met you when you came to Florida.

He didn't like to talk about being sick. He had half a lung removed a few years ago. But the cancer came back with a vengeance. Uncle Walter was surely a very strong man.

You are welcome. Thank you for writing to me. God Bless You, Son.

michael d'heuvaert/decock on June 27, 2010:

hey james you may not know me but i'm the son of walter

The first time i met him i was 17 and what a strange man he was . i never get the chance to really know him.He often called me or my mom how much he really loved us

and i've bin to florida in his house a couple of times

but he never said a word that he was sick .thats the reason why i'm a little bit mad at him .We were verry sad to here the news a month later after he died .he never said anything.but my dad was a strong man .and he will be strong in heaven .i really miss him

and i really appreciate that you wrote such a beautifull letter . thank you god bless you michael

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 10, 2010:

Allan McGregor— Thank you! Thank you very much. :)

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on June 10, 2010:

Now, that's an obit.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 09, 2010:

pastella13— Thank you for your sympathy. I do have a boatload of fond, abiding memories of Uncle Walter. I appreciate your gracious words.

pastella13 on June 09, 2010:

Hi James

I'm so sorry for your loss, but what a great tribute to your Uncle. He must have achieved so much over the years, and you've got good memories of him.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2010:

Lita C. Malicdem— Hey! It's great to hear from you! Yes, I am lucky to have had such a great time with my Uncle Walter. He was a man of the world. He did live his life to the fullest. Thank you for your kind words, prayers, and codolences.

Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on June 04, 2010:


You're so lucky to have your Uncle Walter just as he had you.

He was the man of the world who lived his life to the full he lavishly shared with you. I'm deeply touched by your bond. My condolences and prayers!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 29, 2010:

Faybe Bay— Congratulations on quitting smoking! That is quite an accomplishment. Thank you for coming by and offering your condolences. I appreciate your kind words.

Faye Constantino from Florida on May 28, 2010:

James, I am so sorry I missed this. I had just quit smoking 6 weeks ago and self-imposed isolation seemed the only way to keep myself from picking it up again.

This is an awesome tribute to the man and the relationship you had with each other. I am so blessed to get to know him through your eyes. I am sorry for your loss.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 27, 2010:

Bail Up !— Thank you for swinging by and offering your condolences and blessings.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 27, 2010:

K J Page— Thank you for what you did say. I appreciate it.

Bail Up ! on May 27, 2010:

Hi James

Always a pleasure to swing by your hubs to see whats new. In this particular case I'm saddened for your loss. My condolences. Stay blessed.

K J Page from Pacific Northwest on May 27, 2010:

Beautiful story - what else can one say??

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 26, 2010:

Loves To Read— Hey! It's nice to hear from you. I just love your comments. They are deep, thoughtful, insightful, and discerning. Thank you very much for your warm words and condolences. Well received!

Loves To Read on May 26, 2010:

James although your uncle Walter will be sadly missed and you were lucky to have this lovely generous man in your life. I feel that he also was a lucky man and blessed to have you as his friend. Life could have been so much different for Walter if God had not sent that wealthy German lady to take him under her wing. It seems after that he never looked back but he also never forgot the kindness. His heart was big and so was his generosity. You obviously treated him with respect which he then treated you accordingly. It is amazing how he ended up marrying your Aunty. God paired him with you so you could bless each other. My heartfelt condolences to you James.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 23, 2010:

Dara— I do feel very blessed to have known Uncle Walter. He is the epitome of the "colorful character." Thank you for your insightful remarks.

I am exciting to see my portrait. Capture my light? What a descriptive way of putting it.

Writing about relationships . . . I have touched on this here and there. I might just take your advice on this. That is an interesting idea. Thanks!

Love and Peace to you!


Dara on May 22, 2010:

You must feel very blessed to have had such a colorful character and close guy friend in your life...truly. But, what I also picked up is how women and men can not share the same things sometimes. Sounds like someone from a adventure fairytale. I appriciate all you share and love. This gentleman says a lot about you.

I have been working on your portrait this week. I just finished my second attempt...to capture your light. I guess I will email you soon about this. I have not decided on whether to feel satisfied or not.

How about writing about women and men relationships? Just said this because I think your point of view would be most enticing. It would be a mouth full..Yes?

Love and Peace,


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 22, 2010:

carpetcleaningweb— You're welcome. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 22, 2010:

esslr— Thank you. Yes He does. Yes he did. Wise words.

carpetcleaningweb from Pensacola, Florida on May 21, 2010:

Touching story. Thanks for sharing.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 21, 2010:

jvhirniak— Thank you for your kind compliments and condolences. I loved Uncle Walter. I have not read that book but I'm going to check it out today. I appreciate the tip.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 21, 2010:

M Selvey, MSc— I would say that Uncle Walter enjoyed my company pretty well. We had loads of memorable times, joyful times, funny times filled with laughter. Thank you for coming by and offering your sympathy and kind compliments.

esllr from Charlotte on May 21, 2010:

Sorry about your loss. God works through everyone. Your Uncle provided you with Gods gift of love.

God Bless

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 21, 2010:

cristina327— You are welcome, my dear. I share in your hope. Thank you for your gracious words and condolences.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 21, 2010:

Ben Zoltak— Thank you for coming by to visit and for your compliments. Walter is an unforgettable man.

jvhirniak on May 21, 2010:

James - very moving story and also interesting biography of Walter, esp. as a mercenary. Have you read the book 'Dogs of War' (Frederick Forsyth)? Walter reminded of some of the characters. My condolences.

M Selvey, MSc from United Kingdom on May 20, 2010:

James, so sorry to hear about your loss of this wonderful person in your life. This is such a beautiful and touching tribute. I am sure your Uncle Walter has read this wherever he is and he is smiling, thinking how lucky he was to have known you.

Cristina Santander from Manila on May 20, 2010:

I am sending my deep condolences for the demise of your much beloved uncle Walter/ I hope he has received the Gospel message. Truly once in our lives there were people that will come in our lives that will touch as deeply.They will leave indellible memories in our lives. Thank you for sharing it here at Hubpages. Remain blessed always.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 20, 2010:

bornblond8dg— You're truly welcome. I hope he had an epiphany before the end came. A few weeks before he died, he sent me a couple emails with Christian themes—very unlike Walter. I think it was a message. Thank you for your warm words.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 20, 2010:

Sa`ge— You're welcome. Your profile page is interesting. I'll be checking out your Hubs soon. Joy and sadness. This is the stuff life is made of, methinks. I agree with you: I am truly blessed. Thank you for your kind words. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 20, 2010:

MCWebster— You are surely welcome. Thank you for coming and offering your condolences.

Ben Zoltak from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA on May 20, 2010:

A well rendered tribute to a fascinating man, kudos to you James, your conviction for Walter DeCock shines through here. I wish I could have met him, but at least in your words I have met him just a bit.

bornblond8dg on May 19, 2010:

Thanks for sharing this article.It was truely a very touching hub...Walter seemed really special...Hopefully he gained faith in God and got saved before he died.

Sa`ge from Barefoot Island on May 19, 2010:

thank you for fanning me which brought me here, this is such a beautiful story of a beautiful man, who had a wonderful full life and to think he shared it with you, I am so jealous :) i feel for your loss and yet, I smile at the joys you now feel along with the sadness you feel that has added a new dimension to you existence. you have been so blessed. ~aloha~

MCWebster on May 19, 2010:

James - so sorry to read about the passing of your beloved uncle. My condolences to your and yours. Thank you for sharing this great man with us.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 19, 2010:

Springboard— "Cherish each and every moment like it's the last moment."

That is great advice, my friend. 63 is young these days. But Walter crammed a lot into those years. I love your comments. Thank you for dropping by and leaving your words for me to read.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 19, 2010:

sunflowerbucky— Thank you for your sympathies. I appreciate you for coming. Legacy is overlooked by many. I hope I am remembered well by some.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 19, 2010:

Army Infantry Mom— Thank you for your loving hugs and thoughts. I appreciate you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 19, 2010:

John B— Walter was interred next to Martha. He told me last year that he wanted to be laid to rest with his family.

Springboard from Wisconsin on May 19, 2010:

As they say, "Cherish each and every moment like it's the last moment." I think in our lives there are only but a few select people who enter into our consciousness like your Uncle Walter did. There are only a few people who really touch us in a special way. It is hard to see anyone go. But the ones who become so close are the hardest.

My condolences. He sounds like he lived a very interesting life, albeit rather short. Nowadays 63 is pretty young.

sunflowerbucky from Small Town, USA on May 18, 2010:

James, I am so sorry for your loss! What an exquisite tribute you have paid to this man who meant so much to you! That is a true sign of one's legacy...how they are remembered after they are gone!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

Hxprof— I hope so. Thanks for taking the time to come by and read his little story.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

Dim Flaxenwick— Thank you for your sympathy. He was laid to reat today next to Aunt in Benton Harbor, Michigan. He deserved a bit of a tribute. Now he has one. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

saddlerider1— You're right: Walter was a rebel. I appreciate you coming by and offering your sympathy. Boys will be boys! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

dugger62— Thank you for your touching remarks. I enjoyed your words. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

carolina muscle— Yes, my friend. I am lucky to have known him. Thanks for dropping by.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

cheaptrick— You're welcome, Dean. Uncle was a very intersting man. In fact, he reminds of the guy in the Dos Equis commercials. :D


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

nancy_30— I appreciate your condolences. Walter will be missed.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

rosariomontenegro— You're welcome. Thank you for your kind thoughts. It's nice to see you again.

Army Infantry Mom on May 18, 2010:

Sending my thoughts and hugs out to you James,.. I can see the love and respect you had for your Uncle Walter, when they are such great people,..losing them is even harder. Again,.. Big Big Hugs,...

John B on May 18, 2010:

I've heard Walter's final resting place will be with Martha.

Are you able to confirm this? If so, please pass along any details you may have. Thanks Bro'

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

sord87— Thank you for expressing your sympathy. I like what you wrote: we love and be loved. Excellent!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

jill of alltrades— Thank you for coming. I appreciate your sincere condolences and comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

katiem2— You're welcome. I loved reading your words. Yes, there is an empty space that was inhabited by Uncle Walter. We all have to walk that Lonesome Valley. Ultimately, by ourselves.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

Joe McNamara— I'm glad you somehow found this article, Joe. Welcome. I heard this morning that there had been a service for Walter. I had been told that there would not be one as per his request. I appreciate your comments very much. Peace to you, brother.

Hxprof on May 18, 2010:

What a tribute to your uncle. I think he'd be proud.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

John B— Hello cuz. Our Uncle Walter is unforgettable. Our Uncle Randall is one of the wittiest people I know. I'm glad you got to meet Walter so many times. :)

Thanks for coming by, brother. I need to get down there and visit with you soon. I'll call you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

Kaie Arwen— I'll bet that more than one person will smile at your memory, my dear. I think quite a few of your students will even remember you fondly. If my Uncle Walter reminds you of your father, then your father must be quite the character. I really appreciate the lovely sentiments you conveyed in this note. Thank you. :D


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

Gypsy Willow— Thanks for your sympathy. And yes, Uncle Walter was indeed a rare fellow.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

lefseriver— You're welcome. Your words mean a lot to me. I appreciate your gracious encouragement and affirmation.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

tonymac04— Thank you, Tony, for wishing me well, and offering your condolences and kind compliment. Love and Peace back to you, brother.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

AEvans— Thank you for your blessings and prayers. And I appreciate the compliment. It's great to see you here.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

girlpower— You are welcome. It's nice to hear from you again. Thank you for loving Uncle Walter. I surely appreciate your kind comments and compliments. I'll have to come over and see what you've been writing.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 18, 2010:

Ictodd1947— Hey, Linda. No worries. I figure that since Jesus turned water into wine I may as well drink some. And I don't buy the theory that he turned water into grape juice, as some denominations claim. "You saved the best grape juice for last!"

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on May 18, 2010:

So sorry for your loss, James. You've certainly paid a great tribute to your uncle with this hub. I hope you can keep all your happy memories of him to the forefront.

saddlerider1 on May 18, 2010:

He sounds like a rebel, he would have been my type of guy, after all were all still boys at heart. And boys will be boys.

Sorry to hear of your loss, but at least you got to spend a lot of time with your best friend. May he RIP..

Deborah Dugger from Colorado on May 18, 2010:

James, we are always bless and touched by people,but the rare and beauty of the occasion of such a man as your uncle comes along less often- he will always be with you in spirit. May you always be blessed.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on May 18, 2010:

Sounds like a great guy. I'm sorry for your loss, and you're lucky to have known him!

cheaptrick from the bridge of sighs on May 17, 2010:

You are so fortunate to have had such an incredible influence in your life James.When a man like Walter touches us we are always changed for the better.

Remember him without grief my friend and he'll always brighten your day.



nancy_30 from Georgia on May 17, 2010:

I'm very sorry for you loss. He sounded like a really great guy.

rosariomontenegro on May 17, 2010:

James, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Thank you for sharing with us the memories about such an endearing character.

May he be in a magnificent place!

sord87 on May 17, 2010:

life is full of colors and suddenly it goes without a sign,it happens to everyone,we love and be loved!

Sorry to hear about your closed uncle!May God bless him!

jill of alltrades from Philippines on May 17, 2010:

What an interesting and wonderful person your Uncle Walter is (was rather). I can feel how you really miss him.

My sincere condolences James!

God bless!

Katie McMurray from Ohio on May 17, 2010:

I'm so sorry for the empty place that was once so lively with such an impressive free spirit. Uncle Walter lived an amazing life and I could only hope for such a portion in my own. WOW I'm inspired and will always remember, I love myself. and Boys will be Boys! Thank You for sharing! Peace be with you as I know it is with your uncle Walter.

Joe McNamara on May 17, 2010:

Walter and I were friends and we enjoyed boats and cars together often. I attended a very nice service here last evening, and all of us were very touched by this man in so many ways. The world has truely lost a very interesting and unique person. In his words " I am Walter, and I love myself". Peace.

John B on May 17, 2010:

Walter was one of a kind and I'm proud to have been a nephew as well. He was always the life of any event. Every time he came around he met me for the first as he'd always been inebriated the previous time. I remember our Uncle Randall laughingly proclaiming once that "with all the languages Walter speaks, too bad none of them is English", as he Was often difficult to understand. Randall of course has a wit not unlike Walter's. You did a good job of characterizing Walter and I also doubt anyone who met Walter will forget him.

Kaie Arwen on May 17, 2010:

James- I can't tell you how sorry I am for your loss, but I can tell you that for some odd reason Uncle Walter reminds me a bit of my father.......... not sure why........... maybe it's just the way you feel about him. What I do know, is that I would have liked him :-) (F-Bombs huh?) and that you were lucky to have had him in your life.

The Uncle Walters and the much loved daddies are the people who leave us with the most important things in the world, and that would be the smiles...........

Some day we'll all leave this world............. and when I'm gone............ if only one person smiles at my memory........... well, then I guess I will have done something right!


Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on May 17, 2010:

How exciting to have known such a character. Such people are rare. As a Christian, you know he is in a better place. I 'm sorry for your loss.

David Walli from Northern Minnesota on May 17, 2010:

This is a very personal hub. You are at your best when you write about vulnerability, I think. You also share your faith in a way that is real; invoking real people. Thanks.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on May 17, 2010:

James - a great tribute to a man who meant a lot to you. It's beautiful. Concolences and best wishes, my friend.

Love and peace


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

Ken Carnegie— Hello my good friend from South Carolina. I know that you knew Uncle Walter well. I think you lived near him in Daytona at the time. I'll have to get down your way and visit again soon—unless you're overseas. I appreciate everything you said here. Thank you Brother!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

Deborah Demander— You are welcome. Friends like Walter are truly rare indeed. Thank you so much for your compliments and condolences.


Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on May 17, 2010:

My heart and prayers are with you and yours, you wrote an elogquent tribute to a wonderful man! God Bless :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

Joni Douglas— You are so right. Walter surely added a lot of spice to life. And he smiled all the time! Thank you for coming. I appreciate your condolences.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

BrianS— I do appreciate your sympathies, my friend. Thank you for your encouraging words as well. Good of you to stop by and read my Hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

New Life— You are quite welcome. Thank you for your gracious remarks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

samboiam— Yes, I agree with you that he did leave a legacy of priceless memories. Well said! Thank you for your comments.

Diane DeVillers from eugene oregon on May 17, 2010:

what a wonderful tribute, i love walter and i havent even met him, i am sure all the people who read this will send good vibes to him. although he did not believe in god he must now believe as he is in heaven, a well deserved place for him. the fact he introduced himself as i love myself is great if only more people loved themselves it would be a better world. the fact he dropped the f bomb all the time i have a mate that is the same way, some people are shocked but after five minutes they love him, he was from arkansas. THe wife that divorced you sounded like a control freak and you are better off without her, people that want to control people are selfish asses and should suffer bad karma. you did a wonderful job giving us a view of your great uncle, thank you for sharing a part of yourself

Linda Todd from Charleston on May 17, 2010:

I think I owe you an apology. I normally do not ask questions that is none of my business. Being honest I did because some Faiths do not drink and not knowing yours; I just wondered. I wasn't judging, please know that. I believe this is how we learn about how different individuals and their way of living their faith.

I hope your day is going well.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

jiberish— I thank you for coming with your compliments and condolences.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2010:

coffeesnob— Thank you for dropping by to offer your sympathy and prayers.

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