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Donald and Janett Walton 

The family of Donald and Janett Walton has established an endowment fund with the Martin County Community Foundation. It is appropriately named the Donald and Janett Walton Endowment Fund for the Betterment of Martin County. As an Unrestricted Fund, it will honor these two community leaders by providing funds in perpetuity, to enrich and better the lives of those who still call Martin County home.

Sadly, neither Donald nor Janett are with us today. Donald passed away in 1998 and Janett in 1999. But there are “signs” in Martin County that take on extra meaning when understood. Some are actual road signs, other “signs” are more subtle and one can only appreciate them when a fuller explanation is received and understood.

At West Boggs Park there is a road sign, which reads, “ Donald Walton Lane ”. East of Loogootee is the thriving White River Co-op; there one can see trucks and other vehicles coming and going daily as the business of agriculture is conducted by this high-tech and important component of the Martin County economy. A little further down Hwy. 50 is the Martin County 4-H Fairgrounds, most of us cannot remember a time when it wasn’t there.  Loogootee has a school system that has repeatedly ranked as a four-star school, with a record of producing students that make our community proud. We who live in the present may forget that these seemingly disconnected entities, didn’t always exist, but were made what they are today by people who sacrificed to make them reality a long time ago. They “planted the shade trees which we enjoy sitting under today.”

Donald and Janett, in addition to supporting each other, served in some capacity to make our community better. Donald served on numerous boards associated with his beloved agriculture profession. He was truly a visionary man. Janett was the treasurer of the Loogootee School Corporation for 27 years and was an intricate component of making the school system what it has become.

It seems that the accomplishments already mentioned would be enough for two people to have done in a lifetime, but there was much more. They also operated a productive farm in the West Boggs Creek area and it is still owned by the Walton family. The Loogootee United Methodist Church was a mainstay in their lives too, and it benefited from their common sense approach of applying their faith to life. Other groups that this dynamic couple belonged to include, the Loogootee Masonic Lodge, the Republican Central Committee, Dairymen, Inc., the West Boggs Park Board, the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Sunshine Home Economics Club.

Some members of the Martin County community that Donald and Janett touched in their lifetimes include their farming neighbors and many farm hands that they employed over the years.                                                                      

Former neighbor and friend Beth Smith Lett had this to say about the Waltons, “When I think about Donald and Janett Walton, I remember a happy, hard working, and frugal couple who valued the Walton farmland belonging to past generations. However, their greatest love and enjoyment was raising their two daughters, Cheryl and Brenda. They lived in the Boggs Creek Valley where neighbors seemed like extended family. Sharing work and workers during hay and harvest seasons were expected and enjoyed. Although dairy farming required long hours, Donald and family could always be found at school, church and community activities. Of special note were the many Martin County and 4-H Fairs that were better because of this family of four.”

Amongst their many farm hands was Tim Dant. He recalled this about the Walton’s. “I was a young man and needed a job, well I got far more than just a job when working for the Walton’s; I got an education. I learned so many things working on the Walton farm. First was how to operate machinery, as well as appreciate how to take good care of it. Donald also taught me how to help deliver the calves and pigs, and tend to them so they would grow and thrive. From a personal perspective they treated me as one of the family. They allowed me to work around my sports schedule at school, and always encouraged me to attend church and school. Donald helped me start my first savings account at the Credit Union, I still have it today. I sat at their dinner table regularly and enjoyed Janett’s great cooking. Looking back, having worked on the Walton farm was one of the best experiences of my life. Ironically enough, my sons have each worked on the same farm. So even the Walton land that I worked and learned on has provided opportunities for a second generation.”

Faith, family, hard work, and positive community involvement are the building blocks of a strong society. To have had these two people live their lives amongst us and share their talents has helped shape our county for the better.

The Martin County Community Foundation is deeply honored to have been chosen to provide this memorial to Donald and Janett Walton.

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