MISHAWAKA — Charles Robert Walter, 92, of Mishawaka, entered Heaven’s glory and the presence of his Savior, Jesus Christ, on Friday, May 17, 2019.
Surviving are his lovely wife, Barbara, of Mishawaka, and their children, Rebecca (Virgil) Wesco and Deborah (Richard) Counsellor of Mishawaka, Kevin (Hope) Walter of Granger, and Rachel (Stephen) DeMercurio of Granger. Charles is also survived by 27 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his parents, George Walter and Nellie Drew-Walter, his sister, Mary Nell (Gene) Tincher, his half-brother, Fred (Viola) Walter, half-sister, Alice (Orley) Hutchinson, and two grandsons, Charles Wesco and Job Counsellor.
Charles was born in Joliet, Illinois, on May 8, 1927, and raised in Watseka, Illinois. His love and talent for technical things became apparent in high school when he received both the Science Award and the Manual Training Award.
After Charles was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1947, he took Barbara McCullough out on their first date. Love flourished, and on June 18, 1950, they were married in Watseka, where they attended church.
Charles graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Illinois in 1951. As an engineer for IBM, Charles moved about, working in Chicago, going to school in New York, and then transferring to Iowa. Over the next several years, Charles worked for North American Aviation in Ohio, Bendix Missile in Indiana, and Magnavox in Illinois.
Shortly after the birth of their second daughter, Charles and Barbara experienced new birth when a Baptist pastor came knocking at their door. He shared the wonderful news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for their sins and rose from the dead. They each chose to follow Christ, who throughout their lives would prove to be a precious Companion, Lord, and Savior. As we grieve the end of Charles Walter’s earthly life, we know that now he is more alive than ever because of Jesus!
Charles saw a unique opportunity to combine his passion for innovation, technology and fine craftsmanship when he joined C.G. Conn. In 1970, the Walters purchased the Janssen Piano Division from C.G. Conn and started the Walter Piano Co. in Elkhart. They continued to manufacture the Janssen Piano until 1976 when they introduced a revolutionary new piano design, the Charles R. Walter 43-inch console piano. This piano was the fulfillment of Charles’s first major design and engineering goal for the company. Another major goal was achieved in 1993 with the introduction of the Charles R. Walter W-190, 6-foot 4-inch grand piano. The piano business led them to many countries and all across the United States.
Much of his life focused on his family. The Lord blessed Charles and Barbara with 29 grandchildren: Charles, Jonathan, Virgil Jr., Ruth, Stephen, Timothy, Nathaniel, Karisse, Lawrence and Joel Wesco; Barbara, Sarah, Cristina, Obadiah, Isaiah, Job, Daniel and David Counsellor; Kevin Jr., Beverly, Harrison and Luke Walter; Stephen, Elizabeth, James, Thomas, Anna, Laura and Paul DeMercurio. The next generation is continuing to grow with 52 great-grandchildren and three little ones expected this year.
Charles set forth an example of faith in Jesus, love of family, and dedication to diligent work in building a fine piano and maintaining his wooded acres. His sincere and simple expectation of the soon return of our Lord, annual reading of the Christmas Story, night watches of prayer and Bible reading, and admonitions to spiritual maturity will always stand out in the minds of friends and family members. Charles served many years as a deacon, Sunday school and Children’s Church teacher, enthusiastically creating most of his own lesson plans from the Bible.
Charles’s steadfast devotion to Barbara for almost 69 years of marriage is an example to us all. As they would tell you, it is a testimony to the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit abundantly poured out on their lives together.
Friends may visit with the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at Bubb Funeral Chapel, 3910 N. Main St., Mishawaka. On Thursday, May 23, visitation will begin at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church, 724 N. Main St., Mishawaka. Following, at 11:30 a.m., will be a service celebrating Charles’ life. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery.