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Obituary: Walter "Walt" Divan, Columbus

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Walter Divan of Columbus, who retired as a vice president for Cummins Inc., passed away at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana on Monday, July 22, 2013. Known as Walt to friends and colleagues, by family members he was also lovingly called Bill, his mother’s favorite name for him.

Born in Danville, Illinois, on September 13, 1926, to Walter A. and Madge (Warner) Divan, he graduated from Danville High School and then from General Motors Institute (GMI). A World War II veteran, Walt served with the U.S. Army. His business career began in the foundry industry, working in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. He was then recruited to manage a large foundry operation in Argentina. That was a wonderful experience which also further whetted a love for international business and travel. One highlight that he fondly remembered was when teammates carried him off the field on their shoulders following their team winning a soccer game. As goalie, Walt had not allowed a single point to be scored by the opponents.

Upon returning to the United States, Walt moved to South Bend, Indiana, and worked for Great Lakes Foundry, a subsidiary of Cummins Inc. He was subsequently transferred to Columbus with Cummins, from where he retired in 1987, as Vice President of Manufacturing for Southern Indiana. However, nine years later, the company persuaded him to come out of retirement and manage a manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

An avid golfer, Walt also enjoyed music, traveling, new adventures, sunshine and Florida – where he learned to fish with his best friend, Rex Breeden – and golf outings with friends and relatives. He always drove convertibles, and thoroughly delighted in taking nieces and nephews for rides to their favorite ice cream place. His family was of the utmost importance to him. Walt cherished the many gatherings, celebrations and fiercely competitive euchre tournaments.

An ardent Indiana University supporter, he belonged to the President’s Circle, IU Varsity Club, Hoosier Hundred, Friends of Music, and was a current member of the IU Foundation Well House Advisors. He was past president of Harrison Lake Country Club, a former Heritage Foundation of Bartholomew County director, and member of the Masonic Lodge and Elks Club, both in Columbus. He was knighted Sir Walter Divan in 2007 and received into membership by the Portland, Oregon, Rose Festival Royal Rosarians.

Survivors include his wife, Deborah Black Divan; daughter, Sue Ann Divan of Winter Park, Florida; grandson, Derek Divan of Littleton, Colorado; a brother, Dave (Wini) of Irving, Texas; a sister, Virginia (Richard) Stewart of St. Petersburg, Florida; a brother-in-law, Robert Strader of Danville, Ill.; aunts, Carol Ripley of Longmont, Colorado, and Montrose Divan of Potomac, Illinois; a brother-in-law, Joe (Cheryl) Black of Seymour, Indiana; a sister-in-law, Susan (Mike) Edwards of Fairfax Station, Virginia; two great-grandchildren; and 16 nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Peggy; his son, Stephen; and a sister, Esther Strader.

Walt will be deeply missed by his many friends and colleagues, but most of all by his loving family.

A funeral service will be conducted in Columbus by Father Stephen Banet and Reverend Peggy Casteel at First Presbyterian Church, 512 Seventh Street, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 27th. Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery in Seymour, Indiana.

Calling is scheduled from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, July 26th, at Myers-Reed Dignity Memorial Chapel, 3729  25th St., Columbus, and one hour prior to the service Saturday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, the Indiana University Foundation, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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