Thursday, March 13, 2008
Walton builds network of friends
By LINDA JONES
Artis Walton, now 68, was born in Marshall County and has lived here all his life. And for 50 years, he has worked at J.F. Brittenum and Son Funeral Home – either part- or full-time.
“I worked under his (Cleotis [Bubba] Brittenum) grandfather J.F. and his father, C.F. I lived with C.F. when I was going to college,” Walton said. Walton is a licensed funeral director and a full line insurance agent at the funeral home.
He graduated from W.T. Sims High School in 1957 and began working at the funeral home in 1958. He graduated from Rust College, took courses at the University of Mississippi, and taught social studies for 31 years at Holly Springs Intermediate School.
Walton and Sweetie Faulkner married in 1962. A widower, Mrs. Walton passed away on Aug. 12, 2005, Walton has two children, Kener Walton Odom of Fayetteville, Ga., and Artis Walton Jr. of Fairfax, Va. He also has two grandchildren, Alayna and Tyler Odum.
The son of the late Howard and Willie H. Walton of Waterford, he was an early member of Greenfield Presbyterian Church in Waterford. After his marriage, he became a member of Asbury United Methodist Church and has served in many offices there, including trustee, pastor parish committee and as president of the leadership committee.
Walton retired in 1992 and served on the Holly Springs school board for 10 years, nine of those as chairman.
Also active in politics, Walton served as the late Osborne Bell’s campaign treasurer. The first African-American elected sheriff in Marshall County, Bell was killed in the line of duty in 1986.
“It was very enjoyable to work with him. We were good friends until he passed. He would go to anyone’s house and would eat anything offered,” Walton remembered with a smile.
Walton enjoys working with people and with children.
“I enjoy the community and I have many good friends here. In the course of my work, I’ve visited in many churches in Marshall and Benton counties and met many people.
Education is very important to Walton, who still maintains his membership in the local PTA.
“During those times, teaching was fun. I enjoyed the children, the parents and the PTA,” he said.
“I met my wife teaching – she taught at Holly Springs Primary School, third and fourth grades.”
Walton has five living sisters, four of whom taught. He has eight living siblings. There were 10 children; one of his sisters is deceased.
“And my daughter Kener works in the school system now. She’s a graduate of Ole Miss,” he said.
“My son works for the department of personnel and management for the government in Washington, D.C. He graduated with a 3.8 (gpa) in math.”
After Walton retired from teaching, he worked full-time at the funeral home. He is now working part-time again.
“I love to walk around the square and interact with friends!
“Someday, I know I’ll have to go with my children, but I’ll really hate to leave Holly Springs,” he said.
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