Mitchell "Mickey" Walls, 75, a lifelong resident of Cleveland, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in a Chattanooga hospital, with his daughter, Ainsley, his shadow, by his side.
Born on Aug. 21, 1943, to the late George William and Archie Huffaker Walls, Mickey became the baby brother to three older siblings: Gladys, Louise, and Bobby. His nickname was given to him by Louise, whom he called his second mother. Louise's husband, Jack, and Mickey's brother Bobby, were the male role models who helped Mickey to become the kind and honorable man he was.
Mickey was a Christian man who loved his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ; his family, and his friends. He attended First United Methodist Church of Cleveland, until health issues prevented his attendance.
Mickey was a veteran of the United States Navy, and proudly served on the USS Enterprise CVA (N)-65 for the years of 1961-1964. His service was during peacetime for the United States; therefore, he had many fond memories of his service years. He enjoyed sharing those memories with anyone who would listen. As he was about to be honorably discharged from the Navy, he was given the opportunity to extend his service time for a few months for an around-the-world cruise the Enterprise was scheduled to make. He extended his time of service, and never regretted his decision. He certainly had some stories to tell after that once-in-a-lifetime cruise.
As a teenager, Mickey worked for Griffith Cycle in Cleveland and fell in love with the "two-wheeler," as he liked to call a motorcycles. He spent many hours riding on and off-road. When "four-wheelers" became popular, Mickey was happy to have even more opportunities for adventure riding in the mountains of Tennessee, and beyond.
Mickey Walls loved to travel . .. anywhere any time! Anyone who knew him was certain of that fact. One of his favorite pastimes was looking at a road map or an atlas to plan the next adventure for his family. He and his wife, Janet, and their daughter, Ainsley, were blessed to be able to spend many summer vacations traveling to Colorado to enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains. After several Colorado trips, the travel was extended to all of the western states, and most of the Canadian Provinces.
Mickey enjoyed hiking in the mountains, especially on Big Frog Mountain, and on old abandoned railroad tracks. In his hiking years, he was a member of the Cleveland and the Chattanooga hiking clubs.
A lifelong dream of Mickey's was to visit Alaska. In the summer of 1995, that dream came true. Mickey, his wife, Janet, and their best friends, R.L. and Judy Queen, traveled in motor homes to Alaska and enjoyed every minute of the five-week trip. All the way home from that trip, Mickey kept saying he wanted to go back on a motorcycle ... and he did.
In June of 2000, at the age of 57, he loaded his dirt bike in the back of his Ford truck and headed north for the adventure of his dreams. He parked his truck at a campground at the beginning of the Alaska Highway and rode his dirt bike the remainder of the way to the Arctic Circle. Every morning before he started his motorcycle engine, Mickey prayed for a safe trip. And in the evening he gave thanks to the Lord, and he had no problems.
Mickey left his mark at the half-way point of his trip at the Sign Post Forrest in Canada, where thousands of signs from all over the world mark visitors' stops. He and Janet left their sign there in July 1995, and Mickey added to it on his trip to mark the occasion. Mickey arrived home safely after the two-week trip with stories to tell, pictures to show, a smile on his face, a dirty truck and dirt bike and a satisfaction in his heart that the Lord had allowed him to accomplish his dream. To this day, that dirt bike has not been washed. It still has the dirt from the Alaska and Arctic Circle roads, a reminder to Mickey of a very special trip and time in his life.
Mickey enjoyed photography from a young age. He has a vast collection of photos of his family, his friends, and of the adventures and travels he was privileged to enjoy in his life. He especially enjoyed taking pictures of Rock City barns. Whether they were standing tall, or about to fall ... he thought they were beautiful and deserved to be preserved in picture. His camera was a constant companion.
Mickey worked for Magic Chef for five years after returning from the service. In 1970, he became an employee of Cleveland Electric System, which became Cleveland Utilities during his 32 years of service with the company. Mickey enjoyed his years with Cleveland Utilities. At the time of his retirement in May 2002, he was a meter serviceman for the electric division. He served in several departments and had many special friends at the company, some of whom he was still in contact with after his retirement.
Mickey was a loving husband and father. He had a very special relationship with his daughter, Ainsley. To him she was always "Sweetie" and when she was a small child, he called her "my little shadow" because she was always at his heels. Mickey and Ainsley had a special relationship and shared many special father-daughter days. ... Good Friday day trips, coffee at Hardee's, and Jeep rides to the mountains, were only a few things they enjoyed together.
In addition to his mother and father, Mickey was preceded in death by his
sisters: Gladys Caylor and Louise Carroll; brother, Bobby Walls; brother-in law, Jack Carroll; nephew, David Howard; and parents-in-law: Raymond and Katherine Giles.
Mickey leaves behind to cherish his memory, his wife of 51 years, Janet Giles Walls; his children: Ainsley S. Walls of Chattanooga, and Tracy Soldevila of New Orleans; grandchildren: Hillary Soldevila of New Orleans and Brandon Pugh of Stringtown, Okla.; several beloved nieces and nephews; and the extended Giles Family.
Mickey also leaves behind very special friends and motorcycle buddies: Eddie Ross, R.L. Queen, Bob Card, Vernon Holloway, and Robbie Mantooth.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, at Jim Rush Funeral and Cremation Services, North Ocoee Chapel, with the Rev. Kenneth Scoggins and Pastor Steve Morgan officiating.
Interment will follow in the Red Hill Cemetery, with family and friends serving as casket bearers.
The family will receive family and friends at the funeral home, beginning at 12:30 p.m. until the service hour at 2 p.m. Sunday.
You may share your condolences and your memories with Mickey's family at www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com.
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