I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
II Timothy 4:7
Michael Jay Walter, age 51 of Moneta Virginia, departed to his heavenly home on April 12, 2021 after bravely fighting a brain tumor for 19 years. He is survived by his parents Jay and Linda Walter, sister Amy Clemons, her husband and Mike’s best friend Mark, girlfriend Jessica Gardner and Dora his pet cat. He was predeceased by grandparents Howard and Verna Walter, Roanoke, Virginia and Dr. Stanley and Shirley Garrison, Burnt Hills, New York. Michael was an exceptionally caring, kind and generous person. He was always thinking of others to encourage and build them up.
Michael was born in Niskayuna, New York, graduating from Fort Plain High School and had a brilliant college career, graduating Most Outstanding Student from Paul Smiths College in 1990 and earning a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. He went on to earn a Masters Degree from Virginia Tech in Industrial Forest Management, where he did Graduate Student teaching. He worked for Champion Pulp and Paper in Russellville, Alabama prior to his illness. While in graduate school Michael wrote a short and funny cookbook he called “Dang Good Cookin”. It shared the quick and easy recipes he developed to survive being a bachelor and it displayed his great sense of humor. Fortunately he always found humor in life to keep going and make us laugh.
Mike grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Fort Plain, NY where he learned the value of hard work. Michael was an excellent horseman. He was on the high school cross country team and active in the Boy Scouts. He attended the BS of America Jamboree at Fort AP Hill, Virginia and served as a guide at the Maine High Adventure Camp.
Michael loved his family and was in many ways the family ambassador and historian. One project Michael embraced was a Facebook page devoted to promoting his grandfather’s Dr. S.E. Garrison’s book, Burnt Hills Veterinary Tails.
Michael became certified as an arborist and ran his own tree service business in Sauquoit NY. He loved history and politics and in 2007 volunteered for the John McCain presidential campaign. When he was a young boy Michael read the story of Howard Rutledge who was a POW in Viet Nam. He was very moved by his story “In the Presence of Mine Enemies” and learned lessons of courage and faith that helped sustain him throughout his own life.
In recent years, living at Smith Mountain Lake, as he was able, he volunteered at The Agape Center where he made many friends. He also helped at the Virginia Inland Sailing Association where he was his Dad’s right hand on many building projects.
He had a strong faith in God, which sustained him through his health struggles. Michael grew up attending church at Little Falls Baptist Church in Little Falls NY. He was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church New Hartford NY. He attended Franklin Heights Baptist Church, in Rocky Mount and Burnt Chimney, Virginia and more recently attended Mount Ivy Church in Moneta.
A private burial will be held at the Sweetman Cemetery, Burnt Hills, New York at the convenience of his family.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Agape Center, Moneta, Virginia 24121. Arrangements by Flora Funeral Service and Cremation Center, Rocky Mount, Va. www.florafuneralservice.com