Native Hoosier John Walters’ contribution to the Allied military effort in World War II was a distinguished one. He served in the Army Air Corps and flew 35 combat missions over Germany as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot.

For that alone, Walter is a hero to his country.

But he’s also a hero to the Columbus community for his many years of involvement.

After his active military service days, Walter moved to Columbus in 1949 and enjoyed an engineering career at Cummins, from which he retired in 1983.

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After his retirement, Walter started volunteering at Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum. He designed the museum’s tower, partitions and display cabinets for exhibits. A conference center at the museum bears his name.

Walter served as a community columnist for The Republic for about a decade, sharing his opinion on various matters.

He continued to be a voice for members of the military, as a speaker during community events. For example, Walter delivered the keynote speech in May during the Bartholomew County Memorial Day ceremony.

Walter died Dec. 12 in Columbus at age 96. It was a life that experienced many things, both good and horrific. Most importantly, it was a life that made an impact and a difference in his country and community.