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Walter Pickering Chalcraft, 97, of Abilene, Texas, entered his heavenly home on March 13, 2021 in Weatherford, Texas. Visitation will be held from 5 pm until 7 pm on Thursday, March 18th, at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, March 19th at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Abilene, with the Reverend Steve Patterson of St. Paul officiating, followed by burial at Elmwood Memorial Park.
Walter was born in Seattle, Washington on November 14, 1923, to the late Edwin Pickering and Alma (Ross) Chalcraft. He graduated from Seattle’s Roosevelt High School in June of 1941 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 28th, 1942. After attending airplane mechanics school and aerial gunnery school, he was assigned to the 438th bomb squadron of the 319th bomb group. He flew in combat as the tail gunner on a Martin B-26 Marauder, a twin-engine medium bomber. After he sustained an injury in an accident during the takeoff of his aircraft, he trained pilots in both Texas and Florida.
After his discharge in November of 1945, he returned to Texas and decided to enroll in McMurry College (now University). He graduated with a degree in Music Education and immediately went to Hamlin, TX to revive both the band and choral programs which had been suspended during World War II.
He married Susanne Hudson in Hamlin, TX on June 14, 1953, and the following year they moved to Abilene. After working at Caldwell Music Company for a year he was hired as band director at North (later Franklin) Junior High, where he remained for 22 years. During this time he was also choir director of Abilene’s First United Methodist Church for 12 years, Fairmont United Methodist Church for 19 years and spent 5 years as music director for the Catholic Chapel service at Dyess Air Force Base. He sang in various community groups, including three Abilene Opera Association productions as a member of the chorus.
In 1977 Walter entered the insurance business with Glenn Reed of Merkel, and in 1984 went into business for himself where he remained active selling insurance until the age of 85.
Music was always the center of his life and he enjoyed singing and playing his cornet up until his death. He could always be heard whistling and humming when he wasn’t singing. He led an adventurous life and in his later years loved to drive all over Taylor county visiting new churches and meeting new people.
Walter was preceded in death by his parents, Susanne, his wife of 55 years, his brother Richard and his sister Alice Martin. He is survived by his daughters, Susan Allred and husband Raymond of Tulsa, OK and Karen Mitchell and husband Jeff of Weatherford, TX. Also, 5 grandchildren, Ashley Allred and Jesse Bean of Tulsa, OK, Aaron Allred and wife Brooke of Boulder, CO., Garrett Mitchell and wife Lindsey of Abilene, McKinleah Mitchell and Wyatt Mitchell of Weatherford, TX, 4 great-grandchildren, Adalyee, Peyton, Allison and Avery, along with several nieces and nephews and his special friend, Mary Cedillo.
The family would like to extend our sincere thanks to the staff of Medical City Weatherford, Brookdale Assisted Living of Weatherford and Brookdale Hospice for their compassion and dedication to his care during the last few weeks of his life.
Memorials may be made to St. Paul United Methodist Church or any charity of your choice.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
5:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)
The Hamil Family Funeral Home
Friday, March 19, 2021
Starts at 10:00am (Central time)
St. Paul United Methodist
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