In Memoriam: John H. Walter

John Walter

John H. Walter, 93, of Champaign died peacefully at 5:15 pm. Monday, September 20, 2021, at Carle Foundation Hospital, in the comforting company of his wife and family.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, John studied at the California Institute of Technology. After a brief service in the U.S. Navy just as World War II was reaching its close, he earned his PhD at the University of Michigan, where he met and married Jane Prashker.

John joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, where he served until his 1993 retirement as a full professor of Mathematics. He was a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society  and author of the Walter Theorem.  He also had visiting professorships at Harvard, UCLA, Cambridge (England), and the University of London.

John is survived by his brother Howard, in Los Angeles. John and Jane were parents of three children—Marji (Greg), an Illinois high school librarian; Charles, a math professor at the University of Nice in France; and Hank, the Executive Director of the Indiana Memorial Union at Indiana University.  They were followed by five grandchildren—Ian Gibbs of Springfield, Sara Gibbs Mehta (Prashant) of Wheaton, Aliya, Ben and Maya Walter, all of Bloomington IN; and then two great grandchildren, Liam Gibbs of Herrin and Devesh Mehta of Wheaton.

After Jane’s untimely death in 1987, John married a friend who was also recently widowed, Joy Thornton-Walter.  She survives him after 31 years of a wonderfully contented marriage.

A brief Jewish memorial service will be held at his graveside, outside of Mittendorf Funeral Home in Mount Hope Cemetery, 611 E. Pennsylvania Ave., at noon Thursday  September 23, followed by an outdoor gathering for family and friends in the yard at his wife’s home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, or a charity of your choice.