Former Arkansas Sen. Bill Walters of Greenwood, who served in the Senate for 18 years, has died from complications related to his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 69.
Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, said Walters died in the early afternoon (Mar. 5) at his home in Greenwood. Holland also confirmed that the death was related to Walters’ struggle with cancer.
“He battled that cancer for more than a year, and today, the cancer won,” said an emotional Holland.
Holland said in March 2012 the cancer had shrunk to just one small tumor, and in May the scans came back clean. But a follow up check in August revealed another spot and a special chemo treatment was not effective, Holland explained.
Walters, who was born near Paris, Ark., had a successful career as an attorney and lived life to the fullest, Holland said. He was an airplane and helicopter pilot, drove a bulldozer, built much of a log cabin by himself, and was generous with his time and financial support. For example, he volunteered the use of his helicopter for First Tee of Fort Smith fundraisers.
“He was certainly a good friend to me. You know, there are just a few people who come into your life that have a big impact, and Bill was certainly one who came into my life like that,” Holland said.
In addition to serving in the Arkansas Senate, Walters’ public service included city attorney for Greenwood, a municipal judge and serving as a Justice of the Peace.
Walters, a Republican, also was an attorney for Juanita Broaddrick during the investigation into President Bill Clinton’s dealings in Arkansas that eventually resulted in his impeachment trial. According to a February 1999 report by the Washington Post, Walters helped facilitate in November 1997 an agreement between Broaddrick and Clinton lawyers in which she denied Clinton sexually assaulted her in April 1978. Broaddrick would later reverse her denial.
Holland said Walters’ true love was working with his hands and helping people, and not being involved high-profile politics.
“He helped a lot of people and he didn’t beat his chest about it. He would just help people and move on. … He didn’t want any glory for it, you know, that’s just the kind of guy he was.”
Continuing, Holland said: “There are so many good things I could say about my friend Bill, but the main thing is that he lived life to the fullest. … He was a successful attorney and could have been jetting off everywhere and living anywhere in the world, but Bill liked to work and get dirty. He would go get on his bulldozer and go fix a road or something.”
Holland said initial plans are for a visitation in Greenwood on Thursday evening, with a funeral service Friday afternoon at Christ the King in Fort Smith, followed by a burial at the Ratcliff cemetery.
More details forthcoming from our content partner, The City Wire, at this link.