Thomas J. “Tom” Walters
Thomas J. “Tom” Walters, 97, was called home by God on Monday, July 3, 2023, may he rest in eternal peace. Tom was born in New York City in 1926 and raised in Muncie, Indiana, by his parents Mae and Glenn Walters. He resided in Newport News and Smithfield for over 45 years, including the past 35 years. As an active member of First United Methodist Church in Newport News, he was a member of United Methodist Men and the FUMC mission board for several years. He believed deeply in God that the Holy Spirit watched over him and blessed him by putting the right people in his life at critical times.
Tom earned an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy on merit, graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree. The Navy sent him to M.I.T., where he earned a Master of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering degree and a Master of Nuclear Engineering degree. He joined Admiral Rickover’s Naval Reactors group and became a vital team member in building the modern nuclear Navy stationed at the Newport News Shipyard. He retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve with the rank of Commander.
In 1971, Tom joined a private engineering consulting firm in Washington, D.C., where he worked on complex engineering projects for the U.S. Navy, large international energy companies, and utilities worldwide. Upon retirement, Tom and his wife, Libby, built a house in Smithfield and later moved to The Chesapeake Retirement Community in Newport News in 2003. In retirement, Tom shared Libby’s passion for lifelong learning, travel, sailing, and reading on various subjects. Additionally, he advocated for protecting local marine life and campaigned on behalf of a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from Virginia. He was a true patriot, devoted husband, beloved father, and friend to all who crossed his path.
Survivors include two daughters, Deborah W. Barnett, O.D. (William) of Virginia Beach, Rebecca J. Latta (Michael) of High Point, NC; two sons, Edward T. Walters (Barbara) of Naples, FL, Kenneth B. Walters (Lynn) of Damascus, MD; four grandchildren, Thomas C. Barnett, R.N.
(Veronica, M.D.) of Spokane, WA; Rachel A. Barnett of Virginia Beach; Michelle Hilger (Kris) of Spofford, NH; Susan M. Walters (Robert Gazdzicki) of Beach Park, IL; and great-grandchild Harriet Barnett. He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Elizabeth J. “Libby” Walters, and daughter, Mildred M. Walters.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2023, at 10:00 am at The Chesapeake Retirement Community, 955 Harpersville Rd., N.N., VA 23601. The family requests that in place of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church Foundation, 10246 Warwick Blvd., N.N., VA 23601, or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.