Walter Eugene Shackelford, Sr. March 24, 1920 – May 27, 2016. Walter Shackelford, long-time Durham resident and custom photographer, passed away peacefully at age 96 at the United Methodist Retirement Home at Croasdaile Village. During a career that spanned over 35 years, he photographed countless weddings and events, and he was a fixture at the annual Durham Debutante Ball. His distinctive portraits drew acclaim and industry awards.
Walter graduated from Duke University in 1942, a year he recalled as bittersweet. As President of the Men’s Glee Club, Walter remembered the excitement of performing at Carnegie Hall. Duke’s football team also appeared in the Rose Bowl that year. As a safety precaution, the event was moved from Pasadena to Durham, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor instigated a US declaration of war. Upon graduation, he immediately began military service in the US Navy.
Walter trained as a communications officer and was deployed aboard the destroyer USS Farenholt. The “Fighting F” operated extensively in the Pacific theatre throughout the war. Walter concluded his military service at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In 1945, he was present to witness the acceptance of surrender on the Saki Shima Islands south of Japan, where each officer was given a samurai sword as a memento. In 1984, as a gesture of peace and goodwill, Walter personally returned the sword to the Japanese officer who surrendered it. A brief, private ceremony held at the customs police station near Narita Airport in Tokyo resulted in a lifelong friendship and one of the most gratifying moments of his life.
Besides a commitment to his family, Walter is remembered for his dedication to First Presbyterian Church, the Rotary Club, and Duke Basketball (the second love of his life).
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Florence Pearce Shackelford, and three children. His oldest son, Walter Eugene Jr. (Gene), is married with a son and daughter and lives in Pittsburgh, PA. His daughter, Frances Hundley (Fran) Branch is married with two sons and lives in Fayetteville, NC. His younger son, Daniel Owen (Dan), is married and lives in Baltimore, MD.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 10, at 2:00 pm at the Few Chapel, located at Croasdaile Village, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway, Durham, NC.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to First Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund, 305 E. Main Street, Durham NC 27701, or UMRH Foundation, Croasdaile Village Benevolent Fund, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Pkwy, Ste. A500, Durham, NC 27705 check written to: UMRH Foundation.
Arrangements for the Shackelford family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences www.hallwynne.com, select obituaries.