Greenwood Park’s Peak Honors Former Senator

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<p>PHOTO BY MICHAEL STROMLEY</p><p>Troy Gaston spoke in honor of Bill Walters at the dedication of Walters Overlook.</p>
<p>PHOTO BY MICHAEL STROMLEY</p><p>Pictured next the the stone dedicated in honor of Bill Walters are his wife, Shirley, with two of their daughters, Sandy and Jamie and one of their seven grandchildren.</p>
<p>PHOTO BY MICHAEL STROMLEY</p><p>The partners of Walters Law Firm, Troy Gaston, Derek Allison, Wayland Parker and Michael Harry. They have vowed to continue the legacy started by Bill Walters.</p>

The peak of Greenwood’s Bell Park was dedicated Friday to a former state senator and longtime lawyer who friends described as an avid community supporter.

The park’s pinnacle, high above the city, was named Walters Overlook to honor former state Sen. Bill Walters, who died in March following a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 69.

“I know my dad would have loved this,” said Jamie El-Erian, of Laguna Beach, Calif., one of Walters’ three daughters. “During the ceremony, I noticed there were two giant birds that flew by, and I thought, OK, that’s symbolic of him being here.”

Walters opened a private practice in 1971 after graduating from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville while also serving as a deputy prosecutor for Sebastian County from 1971-75. He was the Greenwood city attorney from 1972-82 and served as a municipal court judge in Charleston from 1978-79.

He also served in the Arkansas Senate for 18 years, from 1983 until 2000.

“(Walters) was a successful businessman and attorney, and a very successful legislator,” Walters’ former law partner Troy Gaston said. “But one of the other things he did was just his dedication to public spaces in this specific community. He served as a volunteer attorney working on behalf of Bell Park and our community space here for greater than 25 years.”

Walters was a past president of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Lions Club, founder of the South Sebastian County Boys and Girls Club and served on the boards of various other civic and service organizations throughout the years.

“First and foremost, he was a hard worker,” El-Erian said. “He was persistent. He had a heart of gold and an excellent moral compass. He said there’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it.”

Also in attendance Friday was Walters’ wife, Shirley.

“I thank the whole community for the outpouring,” she said. “We appreciate it.”