Today, we celebrate the life of alumnus Walter Lindsey '75, who passed away February 9, 2021.
We remember Lindsey as a writer, musician, athlete, lover of poetry and dedicated member of Ampersand and the Glee Club. In 1975, Lindsey also became the first Black student to graduate from St. Christopher’s.
Saints such as Richard Kemper, former StC athletic director, remember Lindsey not only as a bright, hardworking student but as someone whose character set an example for other boys. ”He had a vision of who he was and where he wanted to go in life,” said Kemper. “He was an intelligent, committed Black man, and he was really a trailblazer. He set the stage for other African American students at the school.”
Classmate Tom Baker ’75 remembers him as the epitome of a well-rounded gentleman that the school sought to develop. “He played football, he was in the Glee Club and he was elected to the Honor Council,” Baker said. “I was there 13 years and I was never nominated!”
Rusty Stark '75, Lindsey’s friend and classmate, remembers him as a soft-spoken young man who possessed a quiet, steady confidence. However, Stark recognizes that his friend faced a certain scrutiny that other StC boys didn’t. “He was coming from a different part of town, a very different culture, and I think he was acutely aware of the fact that he didn’t really get to screw up,” said Stark. “That weight was definitely there. He knew that he was a representative and that if he didn’t do well, he knew the kind of pressure that would put on the next student behind him.”
Last year, Lindsey told Baker a story about a time on campus where he found himself struggling to fit in and doubting himself, but then experienced a meaningful turning point when connecting with Jack Bolling, former StC business manager, faculty member and mentor.
“Walter was having a really, really down moment, thinking to himself, ‘What am I doing here?’ Out of nowhere, Jack Bolling appeared, touched his shoulder and just looked at him and said, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ That’s what this place is all about,” said Baker. “That was a really important moment for him.”
Lindsey built a rich professional life in various roles at Bank of America, Capital One Bank and the Virginia Retirement System, where he wrote policy for the organization. He also published books, plays, appeared in radio and television commercials and was an advocate for Parkinson’s Disease wellness.
“He was just an amazing person. He has a great sense of humor, always had a smile on his face, he was always very involved,” said Kemper. “He was a good guy. I love him and I’m going to miss him.”