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On November 24, 1943, Walter Lee Session was born in Gallatin, Texas, third son to Tobie and Mary Doty Session. At about age 12, the family moved to Elm Grove Community, where he attended Elm Grove Common School through the 8th grade, then G. W. Bradford High School, Rusk through graduation in 1962. For him, school was exciting year-round because he participated in choir, football, basketball, and track. Walter was elected class president for all four years of high school. He was very popular along with his brothers Dee, Burnis, and best buddies Sherman and Runny Johnson. They, along with others, were called the “Elm Grove Boys.”
After graduation he joined the U. S. Army serving three years earning an Honorable Discharge. He was very proud to serve his country and in conversation and attire he made this known. He married Maxine Burley Session his high school sweetheart. They had three daughters, Kathy, Terri, and Daphne. He joined the family church, Mt. Hebron Presbyterian as a child. After marriage he became an active member of Mt. Pleasant CME Church where he was Sunday School Superintendent, Choir president, Steward, and finance committee member. For the past 25 years, he was voluntary grounds keeper. The name “Walter” means warrior and that he was for God, family, and community. His father was an exemplary father who worked in the cotton fields of West Texas and local box factories providing for his family and providing an example of strong work ethics which Walter imitated. As a youngster he was proud of traveling with his family to work the cotton fields of West Texas. He was proud of the travel, but not picking the cotton and always joked about it. After marriage Walter settled in Rusk, and grew to love it, while most of his friends and classmates moved to the city to find better jobs. He supported his wife and three daughters in getting their degrees then finished his own earning a bachelor's degree in business from LeTourneau University.
Walter enjoyed taking his wife to the movies, on vacations mostly every year, taking long car rides, and date night out often. He was fascinated by the Bible and enjoyed studying it, and he had a passion for shopping. At Christmas he shopped for and bought gifts for every male in the family while his wife provided for each female. He also enjoyed the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Some of his fondest memories were of family vacations and gatherings after church on Sundays and holidays. He was known around the community as “Big Daddy.” Walter retired from Rusk State Hospital as a Client Rights Investigator after 37 years. Prior to that he was employed at Schnadig Corporation in Jacksonville remaining publicly employed 50 years. He was owner of the Texas Informer African American Newspaper since 1995, member of Texas publishers' association, and the Rusk Branch Fast Action Bail Bonds since 1999. Walter was elected to the Rusk City Council, District 2 in 1983 serving 40 years. He was re-elected to another 2-year term in May 2023. After retirement, every morning he rode through the community checking the streets and reporting any problem to Neal, the streets and road department. The kids called it “Paw Paw Patrol.” In 2016 the street where he lived was named “Walter Session Drive.” The initiatives he spearheaded for the city/District 2 are too numerous to name. He did not just warm a seat at the City Council meetings but was there by phone and in person for the people who elected him. he produced personal action. More than 20 years ago he purchased and maintained his own tractor and voluntarily mowed overgrown property in District 2. He was a 1970s founding member and secretary for the original Cherokee Brotherhood Club, a group of Christian men who support the community. The Chamber of Commerce named Walter & Maxine Citizens of the year in 2011.
Walter was a mentor to many young men who loved him like a father. November 6, 2023, was proclaimed Walter Session Day to honor him for being the man he was and for the services he provided to the churches and community. He and his friend Clarence Watts voluntarily mowed and kept Mt. Mariah Cemetery. He often wore a t-shirt that said, “The Man, The Myth, The Legend!” and that is what he was to his family and friends.
Preceding him in death was his grandmother, Ester Jordon Doty; parents, Mary and Tobie Session; brother, Dee and sister-in-law, Joyce Session.
Walter is survived by his wife, Maxine; daughters, Kathy Session Harris, Terri (Floyd) Franklin both of Rusk, Texas, and Daphne Session of Crockett, Texas; brother, Burnis (Alberta) Session, Alto, Texas; sister- in-law, Shirley Clark, Rusk, Texas; sister/Cousin, Mae Francis (Mac) McLaughlin of Blairs, Virginia; granddaughters, Krystal (Marcus) Carter, Tiffani (Kerry) Tubbs, Jasmine Harris, and Charnell (TJ) Wimberly; grandsons, Reginald Joel (Vivian) McGowan II, Eddie Walter Harris, Darren Franklin,; adopted grandson, Cody (Gena) Glenn; nieces, Kimberly Clark, Wyvonne (Sam) O’Neal, and Tamara (Donyell) Richardson; nephews, Vincent (Angela) Session, Bernard Session, and Deantry Session; god daughters, Shunnon Ratcliff, Letonya McDuff (Chris) Rice, and Shalamar Spears; godson, Michael Session, Eric and Junior; great grandchildren, Destyne Harris, Eddie Harris, Triniti Small, Max Carter, Madyline Carter, Kerri Tubbs, Kayli Tubbs, Reginald Joel McGowan III, Maverick Carter, Hazel McGowan, Colt Glenn, Champ Hayden Glenn, Makayla Glenn, and Josh Glenn; special cousins, Charles (Hazel) Doty, and a host of other family members and friends who loved him so dearly.