It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Elaine Gwen Walton, beloved aunt, friend, teacher, and coach.
She passed away on January 20, 2019 at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, NC, due to health complications, at age 69.
She was born in West Point, VA, to Thomas and Ella Walton. She graduated from Hermitage High School in Richmond, VA in 1968, when she then attended Virginia Commonwealth University and attained her degree in Elementary Education. Gwen went on to teach and coach sports at Brunswick Academy in Lawrenceville, VA, Halifax Academy in Roanoke Rapids, NC, and Willis Hare Elementary School in Pendleton, NC. She retired in 2013 to live a comfortable life in Pleasant Hill, NC with her beloved cats and her best friend, Amy Moran.
Gwen “Big G” Walton was full of life, and was dearly loved by everyone whose lives she touched, and she touched many. After teaching at Brunswick Academy, Gwen spent the majority of her career at Halifax Academy in Roanoke Rapids, NC.
During her tenure there, she was the Geography teacher, the Health & PE teacher, and the Driver’s Ed teacher. She also coached the Junior Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball teams, the Women’s Softball team, and the Varsity Women’s Basketball team – who she gloriously coached to win the NC Women’s State Softball Championship in 1989, and the NC Women’s State Basketball Championship in 1991. Gwen lived for basketball, the UNC Tarheels, and would never be seen wearing anything but Carolina blue.
On St. Patrick’s day in 1998, Gwen “Puff” Walton survived a massive heart attack. It was that moment that she vowed to quit smoking, and would forever wear four-leaf clovers as her good luck charms. After her heart attack, Gwen left Halifax Academy to teach Physical Education at Willis Hare Elementary School, where she was dearly loved by all of the students and faculty. Gwen’s students were her children.
Gwen retired in 2013 and set out to enjoy every moment. She had a bucket list of destinations that she visited, and looked forward to every family summertime beach celebration and winter-time Christmas holiday family festivities.
She will be sorely missed, and is survived by her brother James Walton of Mechanicsville, VA, her sister Nancy Walton, of Richmond, VA, her beloved best friend in life, Amy Moran of Pleasant Hill, NC, and 4 nephews and 1 niece. She is predeceased by her sister Betty Brown.
A celebration of Gwen’s life will be held at Wrenn Clarke & Hagan Funeral Home on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 7:00 pm with Dr. Dennis W. Gregory officiating. The family will receive friends after the service. Burial will follow at Signal Hill Cemetery, Hanover, VA 23069 on Saturday at 1:00 pm.
Flowers or donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105
Online condolence can be made to: www.wrennclarkehagan.com