Beardstown’s former mayor Robert “Buckwheat” Walters passed away at his home in Beardstown yesterday. He was 74. Walters is survived by his wife, his son, and several members of his extended family.
Walters was a 1963 graduate of Beardstown High School. Following graduation he served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. He was employed with Oscar Mayer in Beardstown until its closing, then worked for the State of Illinois retiring in 2010. Walters served as mayor to Beardstown for 17 years, and also served as an alderman.
Walters fought tirelessly for the city to gain marina access to the Illinois River and was mayor during some of Beardstown’s largest changes. Walters was mayor in 1987 when Oscar Mayer closed and Excel Corporation took over the building at the town’s southern outskirts. He also helped rally the community during historic flooding in 1995, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Walters said in an article with the State Journal Register in 2013 during flood fighting efforts, how the city always managed to rally around each other during great times of need. Walters also saw the face of the City of Beardstown change during his tenure, with the city experiencing an unprecedented amount of immigrant families coming to settle in Cass County and work in Beardstown during his lengthy public service. Walters watched as the city became a dwelling place of diversity – with it all of its challenges and triumphs alike.
Cremation rites have been accorded. A memorial graveside service will be held on Saturday, April 4th at Beardstown City Cemetery. An informal visitation will be held from 3-7 PM Friday, April 3rd at Sager Funeral Home in Beardstown. Memorials are suggested to Bob’s grandsons traveling baseball team, The Generals or to the Guthrie-Pierce VFW Post 1239. Due to the Illinois stay-at-home order, a celebration of life service to honor Walters will be held at a later date.