WALTON, Artence Vivian Johnson, age 96, passed away peacefully November 15, 2020 with family at her bedside. She was preceded in death by her husband, Esrich Walton Sr., her daughters, Beverly Smith and Sylvia Jackson. She is survived by her daughter, Helen Schooler and son, Esrich Walton Jr. and loving nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
She was born July 4, 1924 in Mobile, Alabama to Addie Curtis (Cherokee Native American) and Edward Johnson (African American).
In 1940 at Alabama State Teacher’s College, Artence helped serve food to soldiers in campsites from Pensacola, Florida to New Orleans. President Roosevelt recognized her altruistic activity with a signed “Recognition of Service from the President of the United States for Service to the Nation as a Volunteer".
After her marriage to Esrich Walton Sr., they moved to Dayton and she was hired by the Dayton Public Library as a librarian for the Children’s Department. She retired in 1967 as Head Librarian of the West Branch.
During her early years in Dayton, Artence joined Trinity Presbyterian Church and was committed to service in many areas including, but not limited to, teaching Sunday school, serving as a ruling elder for the churches council, becoming involved with the Presbytery of the Miami Valley and also serving as the first African American woman to become Moderator of the Presbytery. She spent a lifetime of volunteering and reaching out to others.
She received numerous awards throughout her life. Some include: Mary Scott Nursing Center Award for Service; Dayton Public Schools Award for Service as a Volunteer; Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year Award by the Montgomery County Council on Aging; Altruistic Grandmother’s Friendship Award (an organization which provides financial assistance to college students), and also received awards from Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority, Dayton Boys Club and the Ohio House of Representatives. She received the Presbyterian Church’s 1999 Lucy Kraft Laney Award, the first award given by the Presbyterian Older Adult National Committee for achievements in missions, and the 1997 Leadership Award from the National Black Presbyterian Women.
She was a tour guide to the Afro American Museum and story teller. She wrote poetry. She also volunteered at Hospice for a period of time.
She became a Lay Pastor in the Presbyterian Church and worked closely with the prayer group visiting the sick and serving sacraments.
She lost her husband to cancer in 1990. She was a dedicated mother to three daughters, and one son. She was also a hands-on grandmother and a loving great grandmother. Artence continued to be active and contribute so much to others in so many ways until her stroke in 2014. There is much to say, but she felt the most important thing to remember about her was that she was a child of God and He was her guide in her every endeavor.
Due to COVID, graveside service will be held, for Immediate Family Only, 11 am Thursday, November 19, at the Dayton National Cemetery where she will be laid to rest with her husband. In lieu of flowers, we ask donations be made to Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3211 Lakeview Drive, Dayton.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Artence J. Walton, please visit our floral store.