Clarence Walters

Clarence Ronald Walters, 88, of Fountain Hills passed away on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021.

Clarence R. Walters was born in Detroit, Mich., on June 11, 1932. His parents were Clarence Michael and Lillian Walters (nee Jarvis). In addition to his parents, Clarence had two younger sisters, Janet Clair and Karen Mae. Clarence attended elementary and secondary schools in Detroit. He graduated from Southeastern High School in June 1950.

He enrolled in Wayne University and graduated in June 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history. His participation in the High School and College Reserve Officer's Training Corps resulted in his being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army at the time of his graduation from college. In November 1954 he was called to active duty. At this time, he reported to the Armored School at Fort Knox, Ky.

In March 1955, after completion of the armored officers basic course he was posted to the 899th Tank Battalion at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, located near Hanau, Germany. While in the battalion he served as a tank platoon leader and later as a company executive officer. In November 1957, he ended his tour and returned to the United States and was placed on inactive reserve status.

In September 1958, Clarence joined University of Michigan Library Science program and the Detroit Public Library joint work/study program. This pre-professional function combined academic class work and practical experience working in the library. In January 1960, Clarence received his Master’s in Library Science degree (MALS).

After graduation he worked in a variety of positions at the Detroit Public Library. In 1964, he joined the staff of the state library in Lansing, Mich. At the time he assumed a new position of the library building consultant and administrator of federal and state funds for the construction of library buildings in the state. In 1967, he joined the staff of the Wayne/Oakland County Federated Library System, as one of the two assistant county librarians with primary responsibilities for the personnel, coordination of relations with non-affiliated libraries, and building consultation.

In 1972, Clarence was married to Diane Nantau Heckmann. The marriage was ended in dissolution in 1989. Later in 1972, Clarence was appointed county librarian of Contra Costa County, Calif. During this time, he oversaw a building program of new and expanded library building outlets. In 1980 he was appointed Connecticut State Librarian. In this position he oversaw the development of a new public library funding program. He also oversaw a program to upgrade the stat library/supreme court building. Clarence worked with the staff of the united technologies staff to plan and promote a major exhibition on the life and work of Igor Sikorsky held in the state library museum of Connecticut History.

In April 1986, Clarence accepted the position of Program Director the State and Public Libraries at the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in Dublin, Ohio. During the next 10 years he served in several different position, including Director of Member Library Relations. Clarence also helped to plan several major conferences. These included the future of the public library and the role of information in the economic development of the southeastern United States. Clarence retired from OCLC in 1996.

During his career, Clarence was active in several his professional associations. In Michigan he was involved in the Michigan Library Association’s legislative committee, as well serving on various other committees. In California, he served on the California Library Association’s Government Relations Committee for almost all his time in the state, including stints as chair of the committee.

While in Ohio, Clarence continued his involvement in legislative matters. In 1991, this resulted his being selected one of approximately 14 delegates from Ohio to the White House Conference on Library and information services. The conference was held July 9-13, 1991.

When Clarence moved to California in 1972, Clarence became a member of the Pleasant Hill Rotary Club. From this point on he was active in Rotary in all the places he moved to including: the Hartford, Connecticut club, the Dublin-Worthington Club in Ohio, and the Fountain Hills Club, in Fountain Hills. Over the years he was a member of the Rotary for more than 40 years.

After retirement in 1997, Clarence moved to Fountain Hills. He continued his active lifestyle by becoming involved in many functions. Following years of membership in Rotary clubs in California, Connecticut, and Ohio he joined the Fountain Hills Rotary Club. He served a term as president. Also, on arrival he became a volunteer at the Scottsdale Hospital Shea Campus. Clarence served 17 years at the hospital. Returning to his library function, Clarence was appointed to serve on the advisory board of the Maricopa Library district. About a year later he was elected to the board of the Fountain Hills Friends of the Library. He was elected to three, three-year terms on the board. He served a year as president of the Association. During this time, he initiated books for the homebound program. It was run by volunteers serving the homebound. This was done with assistance of library staff helping sign up patrons.

During the time in Fountain Hills, Clarence also served on his homeowners’ board of directors. At the same time, he served on the Scottsdale Healthcare volunteer Board of directors for a third term. During this time, he worked jointly with the Scottsdale Public Library to establish a history of the Scottsdale hospital. This made it possible for the public to access material on the hospital.

During his life Clarence was a military history buff. He collected a large number of books on military history. He also had a collection of military miniatures. He loved music, especially Jazz, classical, folk music, and military marches.

Clarence was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Karen Kosalsky. A memorial service was held at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona on Friday, June 18, 2021. In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to go to a charity of the donor’s choice.