Mack Leslie Walls
Mack Leslie Walls, 69, died on Wednesday, Aug. 26. He was a beloved husband, father, grandpa (MackDaddy), brother, uncle and friend. He died doing what he loved — working outdoors.
He was born on Sept. 8, 1950, in Saltville, growing up with his parents, Evelyn and Glinford Walls, and siblings, Janice, Gilda and Jeff. He graduated from R.B. Worthy High School in 1968 and left Saltville to further his education at Virginia Tech. There, he earned his undergraduate degree in forestry and graduate degree in wildlife biology.
After a time in Indiana, he returned to Virginia and enjoyed a long career with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, retiring in 2006.
Bob Duncan, Mack’s long-time friend and Department of Wildlife Resources leader, describes his service: “Mack Walls was beloved and highly respected by his fellow wildlife professionals at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, now the Department of Wildlife Resources. He was admired by his colleagues, sportsmen and women of Virginia; and a wide variety of conservation-minded organizations. Mack was a remarkable individual with the requisite scientific/academic training and adept at working with people of all backgrounds and interest. He was caring of others and a mentor for many of his co-workers. His ‘can do’ attitude inspired his co-workers and his friends in other state and federal agencies. Among his contributions to wildlife management and conservation in Virginia, his leadership establishing and management of the deer-hunting program at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant attracted attention from sportsmen and women from across the Commonwealth. This program was recognized as one of the 10 best deer hunting programs in the nation! Mack’s contributions to wildlife management will benefit future generations of Virginians and serve as an extraordinary example for aspiring future conservationists.”
Mack’s academic and wildlife conservation accomplishments pale in comparison to his love of family and friends! His love is remembered through fishing and camping trips to Lake Moomaw in Bath County with his sons, Stephen and Jason, teaching them how to waterski on South Holston Lake and their countless trips to Laurel Bed Lake and Big Tumbling Creek, where he had spent time with his father.
Mack had deep love and devotion to his daughter, Jordan, and was always willing to jump in and help with whatever was needed at College Run Farms or with the family. Their bond was special and strong.
In later years, he transferred that love of family to his grandchildren, Pete (16), Ethan (15), Jake (14), Emi (13), Nicholas (12), Marley (11) and Henry (11). He loved his grandkids, launching the most epic summer camp of all time: “Camp Grandpa.” Fishing, camping, tubing, hiking, water fights, amazing food and memories that will never be lost.
Whether in person or from afar, he was a cheerleader for their activities: dancing, lacrosse, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, baseball, gaming, tae kwon do, marching band and scouts.
And, the annual ski trips to Wintergreen, with his white ski jacket and blaze orange ski hat, where he taught his grandchildren how to ski — each a precious and special moment.
And, then there was his beloved wife Catherine. They met by chance at Chippokes State Park in 1996 and married in 1998. They made an incredible life together and loved each other deeply. Their life together was devoted to their children and grandchildren.
For the man who could give life with a hug, warm your heart with a smile and make a connection in an instant — we love you and we will miss you forever!
The service will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Museum of Middle Appalachians, in memory of Mack’s mother, Evelyn Walls Herndon, Post Office Box 910, Saltville, Virginia 24370.