Jump to content

Franklin doctor defied cancer odds

Recommended Posts

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a ... 006/NEWS01

March 14, 2006

A LIFE LIVED: Jack Walters, 1927--2006

Franklin doctor defied cancer odds

By Staci Hupp


Jack Walters spent much of his life giving life to others.

The retired Franklin doctor delivered two of his grandchildren, one set of triplets and a Hoosier basketball legend named Steve Alford.

His biggest medical feat, however, involved his own life, relatives say. Dr. Walters lived 14 years after doctors told him he was dying of lung cancer.

"I think the doctors were quite amazed," said his oldest daughter, Suzanne Miller. "We say it was a miracle."

The cancer came back last year, Miller said. Dr. Walters died March 9 in Venice, Fla., where he had retired. He was 79.

Dr. Walters lived most of his life in Franklin, where he was born and raised. He took time off from Franklin College in the mid-1940s to join the U.S. Navy, where his role as pharmacist mate sparked a love for medicine.

He finished at Franklin College in 1949 and married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Portteus, a year later. He joined his father-in-law's family practice in Franklin after graduating from Indiana University's medical school in 1955.

Jack and Nancy Walters had four children who loved to hike and ride horses with their father.

"He was a wonderful dad and a wonderful man," said Miller, 52, who is Johnson County's chief juvenile probation officer.

The doctor also won affection from patients and his employees.

"The first time that I saw him, I thought he had the kindest eyes of any person I'd ever seen," said Shirley Newkirk, 71, a former nurse and family friend.

Dr. Walters' first wife died of cancer in 1977. He married Judy Prall, a family friend who worked at City Hall, six years later.

The couple spent their winters in Florida as they grew older. They stayed there full time when doctors spotted lung cancer shortly after Dr. Walters retired in 1991. At the time, he was given 18 months to live.

Dr. Walters defied the odds and enjoyed an active retirement. Relatives said he loved to fish, garden and do woodworking.

His pace slowed last summer when he started to lose weight and energy. Miller said Dr. Walters was hospitalized with lung cancer in January.

"We all were with him when he passed away," she said.

Besides his wife and daughter, survivors also include children David Walters, Elizabeth Romack and Janet Gorrell; stepsons Gary Webb and Mark Webb; and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Flinn and Maguire Funeral Home in Franklin. Calling hours are from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Call Star reporter Staci Hupp at (317) 444-6253.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.