Sally Joan Buchet Walton was born April 26, 1929 in Pomeroy, Washington, in the southeastern corner of the state, between the Snake River and the Blue Mountains. She was the oldest child of Eva Foley Buchet and Claude Louis Buchet, with two younger brothers whom she adored and remained close to throughout her life, Donner Buchet and Peter Buchet. Her mother was a life-long school teacher, and later in life as a widow an extensive world traveler. In 1983, Sally traveled outside of North America for the first time, as she and her mother took a two month trip together to China. And her father was a farmer, rancher and businessman, eventually becoming the president of the area grain growers association. At that time, eastern Washington State was some of the most productive wheat and cattle land in the entire nation. One of Sally's fondest memories was growing up working the ranch with extended family in the summers, and then coming into town for the school year, where she excelled as a student, musician and athlete.
Sally was married to Richard Lindsley Walton of Spokane, Washington, on June 27, 1953 at Sally’s home church, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Pomeroy. The couple met while they were both students at Washington State University, through a fraternity-sorority arranged date, and were married for 55 years. Their first home together was in Monterrey, California, where “Dick” took a position with the Ford Motor Company, until he was drafted into the Army and sent to Fort Benning, Georgia. Following his military service, Dick earned is MBA at the University of Georgia and then took a federal government position with the Commerce Department in Washington, DC, as an economist specializing in rural re-development, particularly the Appalachian Mountain region. Along the way, Sally worked as a psychiatric social worker, librarian and extraordinarily active church volunteer, primarily at The Falls Church Episcopal Church in Falls Church, Virginia, where they lived for nearly 40 years, raising their two children, Mary Tamsen Walton Castle and the Rev. Richard “Lin” Walton, Jr. For Sally, family and faith meant everything. She was an elected warden of the church, Sunday School program director, lay pastoral counselor, lay Eucharistic minister, substitute church organist, just to begin. Outside of church and the library, she enjoyed playing bridge in numerous couples’ groups, although she enjoyed them even more when they morphed into camping adventures, gourmet cooking nights and political debates. Sally and Dick were outspoken members of the Democratic party, decidedly different than their own parents’ affiliations, shaped by their experience living in Georgia in the 1950s.
The couple was delighted when Sally's brother Donner moved to the Washington, DC area to also take a position with the federal government. The two families went on to spend nearly every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July and any other special occasion together, as well as returning to Washington State to visit the remainder of the family at least once every two years, especially her youngest brother Pete, whom she doted on. Sally loved her sisters-in-law, Sharon Buchet, Marilyn Buchet and Fran Walton, and adored her nieces and nephews as if they were her own children: Brigette Buchet and Josh Buchet, Shauna Buchet Soule and Suzanne Buchet Walker, Debbie Walton Smith, David Walton and Ellen Walton Canfield. Sally was also blessed with two lovely adult children-in-law through Tammy and Lin respectively, Donald “Mac” Castle and the Rev. Nancy Dixon Walton. And to the very last, she absolutely delighted in her two grandchildren, Sophie and Jeremy Walton, cheering them on in every pursuit, and will forever be their most admiring fan.
At this time of ongoing pandemic, though, there are no immediate plans for a memorial service. Family and faith truly did mean everything to Sally, and the older she got, the more she longed to go home. Her 90th birthday celebration in Seattle was the highlight of the last chapter of her life. She cherished every church family she was a part of and for her it all began at St Peter's Episcopal Church in Pomeroy, Washington, where she was baptized and confirmed and married. And remembering her as a voracious reader, memorial donations may be made to Reading Is Fundamental at www.rif.org; or to Episcopal Relief and Development at www.episcopalrelieffund.org.
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