Don E. Walden Jr., age 92, of Plant City, Florida died January 18, 2021.
He was the son of the late Don and Lucile Gallagher Walden, he is also preceded in death by his wife; Lois Walden.
Survivors include children; Selinda (Ken Keller) Walden, Lee-Ann (James Knox) Walden, two grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Don was a fifth generation Plant City native. His father, Don Walden Sr. and mother, Lucile Gallagher Walden, were both natives of Dover. He graduated from Plant City High in 1946 and enrolled in Stetson University in Deland where he earned a · business degree.
He entered college thinking after graduation, he would take over his father's Plant City Chevrolet dealership. But the Korean War was raging by the time he got his diploma and he volunteered for military duty, entering the Army and graduating as a second lieutenant from Army Officer Candidate. School in October 1951.
His military service Included stints in Korea, and two different tours in both Vietnam and Germany. Seeking to pursue his interest in aviation, he volunteered for Army Aviation but was rejected because he exceeded the physical requirements; at 6 feet, he was too tall to serve as a pilot. Despite this, during his service, he did obtain both his private and his commercial pilot's licenses. After a 22-year career.in the Army, he retired as a lieutenant colonel. He returned home to Plant City; obtained his multi-engine pilot's license and then launched another career in commercial real estate.
Over the succeeding years, (he was still working at the age of 92), he had found time to serve as president of the Plant City Kiwanis Club, Chairman of Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, and President of Tampa Association of Realtors and had served on the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Hillsborough County. He helped create the Community Redevelopment Agency in Plant City and was a founding organizer of the Plant City State Bank (now Wells Fargo.) As a person devoted to his community, Colonel Walden supported affordable housing projects, funded nursing scholarships for Plant City High School students, and consistently donated to South Florida Baptist Hospital, the Arts Council, the Photo Archives and History Center, and more, including many organizations supporting veterans and their families. In recognition of his many service and charitable acts, he had received several recognitions over the years including the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors highest honor: Realtor of the Year, special recognition from the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Tampa, and most recently Citizen of the Year 2018.
The family will receive friends Saturday September 25, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM at Haught Funeral Home 708 W Dr MLK Jr Blvd Plant City Fl 33563. A Memorial Service will follow at 11:30 AM. The Walden Family requests that all guests please wear a mask.
If So desired donations can be made to the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation or the favorite charity of your choice.
Online condolences can be left at haught.care.