Distinguished Alumnus
Class of 2017

John Andrew (Andy) Walton, Jr.

AHS Class of 1962

John Andrew (Andy) Walton, Jr., AHS Class of 1962, graduated from Eastern Illinois University, Cum Laude, in 1967, with a B.S. in Business Administration. He went on to a successful career in Information Technology.

Andy’s paternal grandparents, Dora (Halsey) and George Walton, moved to Arcola in 1928 with their two youngest children, John and Georgia. His maternal grandparents were Vivian (Bates) and Samuel Iverson. The Iversons farmed near Capron, IL, where their daughter Joye grew up. At 17 and traveling unaccompanied, Joye took a Chicago & Northwestern train from Capron, changed trains to the Illinois Central in Chicago, and traveled to Champaign-Urbana to begin her studies at the University of Illinois. Upon graduation in 1939, she took a job as the Home Economics teacher at Arcola High School. Joye and John were married June 19, 1943, and were residents of Arcola their entire married life. Andy, their first child, was born July 4, 1944. Sam was born April 16, 1946, and Kris on May 27, 1949. John passed away in 1974, after over twenty years as employee and part-owner of King Brothers, Inc. Joye returned to teaching after their youngest child entered school. She taught at Humboldt, IL Jr. High from 1954 until her retirement in 1986. Joye passed away in 2000.

Andy began 1st grade at the East Side school in the fall of 1950, and then attended West Side school in grades 5 & 6. With the completion of the new elementary school on the high school campus in 1956, he attended both Junior and Senior high school there. Andy was involved in many high school activities - athletic manager, class officer, student newspaper, class plays, yearbook editor, and science club. He also held offices in Student Council and National Honor Society, and was American Legion award recipient for his class. During high school, teachers Kay Kleiss (science), Carroll Dunn (Math), Bob Avery (basketball coach) and Modesta Scott (government/history) were influential in his education, maturation, and later success.

Following graduation from Arcola High School in May 1962, Andy attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign from 1962-1964. He transferred to Eastern Illinois University in 1964 and graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in Business Administration in 1967. While at EIU, Andy was a member of Delta Sigma Pi, (business professional fraternity), Delta Mu Delta (business honorary fraternity) and hosted a radio show on the WELH campus radio station. He was first introduced to Information Technology at EIU, primarily by Dr. Roland Spaniol, business technology instructor and director of the university computer center. Andy was employed part-time at the EIU computer center his Junior and Senior years and worked during the summer of 1966 in the IT department of Illinois Consolidated Telephone Co. in Mattoon, IL, as a card-sorter operator.

Upon graduation from EIU, Andy began work at International Harvester in Broadview, IL, in September 1967. During his two years at International Harvester in the Farm Equipment division IT department, he was a programmer/analyst assigned to the group developing a new COBOL-language Payroll System to be run on IBM mainframe computers.

In 1969, Andy joined Atlanta, GA-based Management Science America (MSA) as a programmer/analyst in their Hinsdale, IL office. MSA became the largest independent financial and human resource software developer for IBM mainframe computers in the 1970s and 1980s. During the 1970s, Andy became the lead software installer and trainer of MSA’s international clients who implemented the financial software. In the years 1974-1978, he implemented the financial software for Angola Diamond Mines in Lisbon, Portugal; GTE International in Tehran, Iran; Barclays Bank in Johannesburg, South Africa; Bank of Commerce & Industry in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and M & M Mars in Veghel, The Netherlands. Andy was promoted to Vice-President of Operations for MSA’s Midwest Region in Oak Brook, IL, in 1983. As such, he was responsible for managing a staff of sixty professionals who provided client support on the MSA software suite in the fourteen-state region. During his last full year with MSA in 1986, the Midwest Region of MSA generated more than $35 million in customer service fees – the most of any region in the company. In subsequent years, Andy worked for Computer Marketing & Consulting Services, Price-Waterhouse, ADP, and NTT Data as a software consultant to companies implementing the PeopleSoft Human Resource system.

On September 14, 1985, Gail (Hall) and Andy were married at Leyden Baptist Church in Chicago, IL. Gail’s daughter Traci and great-aunt Edna Carlson performed the music for the ceremony. They honeymooned in Hawaii on Maui. Traci was 17 when John Andrew Walton III was born January 17, 1989. The Waltons are the proud grandparents of Jacob and Noami Brown, Traci’s children. Over the years, Andy has participated in a wide variety of hobbies – snow skiing, NASCAR events, steam locomotive excursions, bowling, and bridge.

In retirement, Gail and Andy enjoy wintering in Naples, FL. Each year, they host a reunion of AHS “Snowbirds”, who also winter in FL. Among their favorite vacations have been visiting historical mansions, presidential libraries, and Civil War battlefields (visiting more than 30, as inspired by Sam Blackwell); attending the Albuquerque, NM Balloon Fiesta; cruises to Alaska, through the Panama Canal, and on the Danube River between Budapest, Hungary and Nuremburg, Germany; and traveling with the Western Illinois University Wind Ensemble (of which John was a member) to Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Andy volunteers at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL and St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL. Since the 2008 formation of the Arcola Alumni Association, he created/maintains the Association’s website and prepares the video presentations for the annual Distinguished Alumni banquet.

Questions/Comments to
Last Revision November 11, 2017