Walter W. Driver obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Walter W. Driver

May 27, 1923 - May 16, 2017

Obituary


WALTER WILLIAMSON DRIVER passed away May,16, 2017, just two weeks shy of his 94th birthday. A resident of El Paso for over 80 years, he was born in Memphis, Tenn., on May 27, 1923. His parents were the late Janice Driver Epstein and Dr. I.M. Epstein, prominent El Paso pediatrician.
The family moved to El Paso in 1936 from Chicago, where Walter had been a professional photographers' model as a young boy. He then began a tennis career in which he won more prestigious championships and honors than perhaps any other male El Pasoan....

WALTER WILLIAMSON DRIVER passed away May,16, 2017, just two weeks shy of his 94th birthday. A resident of El Paso for over 80 years, he was born in Memphis, Tenn., on May 27, 1923. His parents were the late Janice Driver Epstein and Dr. I.M. Epstein, prominent El Paso pediatrician.
The family moved to El Paso in 1936 from Chicago, where Walter had been a professional photographers' model as a young boy. He then began a tennis career in which he won more prestigious championships and honors than perhaps any other male El Pasoan. He was the first El Pasoan to win the Texas State High School Singles Championship, for Austin High School in 1940. That summer he became the Canadian National Junior Singles Champion in Quebec City. In 1941, after several fine tournament wins, he was chosen by the USTA as one of seven Junior (18 and under) players, nationwide, for the USTA National Junior Davis Cup Team and was invited and played in the U.S. Open Men's Singles at Forest Hills, N.Y. He was ranked #10 in the nation in Junior Singles. In early 1943 he and John Hickman of San Antonio won the National Intercollegiate Doubles title for UT-Austin. Over the years he held thirteen Southwest Sectional Championships, from Boys 15 Singles to four-time Men's 35 Singles. He was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame, the Southwest Section - USTA Hall of Fame, and the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame. In later years he gave back much to the tennis community as President of the El Paso Tennis Club and then as President of the Southwest Tennis Association and a member of the USTA National Board of Directors, the tennis governing body, for several years.
His business career was similarly notable. As President of Driver Construction Company for thirty years, he was engaged in land development and residential construction, building more than 500 homes in El Paso. With various associates, he developed several large subdivisions. He was a Past President of El Paso Homebuilders' Association and a Past National Director of NAHB. He was also a former licensed real estate broker and licensed insurance broker. He was a former Director of Texas Commerce Bank - Northgate, former Trustee of Property Trust of America, and former Director of Casa Ford, Inc., with his lifelong friend and business partner, Wallace Lowenfield.
His civic contributions to the community were many and varied. He was Past President of the United Way of El Paso County, Past Chairman of the Housing Authority of El Paso, Chairman of the Urban Coalition in the early 1970's, and served on the Boards of El Paso Industrial Development Authority, El Paso Chamber of Commerce, El Paso Better Business Bureau, Central YMCA, and the El Paso Country Club. He served four terms as Vestryman of the Church of St. Clement and was twice Junior Warden. He was a recipient of the City of El Paso's prestigious Conquistador Award. He was also a member of Los Caballeros Social Club.
He enjoyed two separate academic careers, leaving UT- Austin at age 19 after his junior year for U.S. Army Air Corps Aviation Cadets, and finally returning to UTEP in his mid-40's to obtain both a BA and MA in Economics and Finance.
He served three years in the Air Corps during WWII with 19 months service in the Pacific in New Guinea, the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan. In later life he was a licensed private pilot and aircraft owner, flying his beloved Cessna 182 Skylane for over 1200 hours, until the age of 74.
As a new 2nd Lieutenant and shortly before going overseas, he married the lovely Miss Carolyn Bonds Mayfield on June 14, 1944, in the Church of St. Clement, where her parents had been married. He later said it was a terrific incentive to win the war and get home. He came back as a Captain, having finished three years of college and having won a NCAA national championship, then three years in the U.S. Army Air Corps with 19 months overseas, to a beautiful wife and a 13 month-old son he had never seen, and he was still 22 years old.
He was pre-deceased by his wife, Carolyn, in January 2014, and daughter-in-law, Bettie Willerson Driver. He is survived by four children: Walter W. Driver, Jr.; Helen Janice Driver; Davis Mayfield Driver ( Ann); and Nancy Driver Hunt (Robert). Also surviving are 13 grandchildren: Eleanor Driver Post; Anna Driver Wick (Warren); Walter W. Driver III ( Kate); Carolyn Flanders Martens (Robert); Sarah Flanders Davis (Gregg); Laura Flanders Wilson (Dugald); Davis M. Driver, Jr. ( Sarah); Thomas Oliver Driver; Haley Lynn Driver; Robert W. Hunt, Jr. ( Lauren); Helen Hunt Rohlfs (Paul, Jr.); Emily Hunt Newton (husband Rev. John, IV); and James Wesley Hunt ( Kyndal). Nineteen great-grandchildren also survive, with three more expected within a month.
Walter's family sincerely thanks his physician, Dr. Branch Craige, for his long time care and friendship. His local nieces and their spouses, Margaret and Bruce Meyer and Blythe and Steve Larson, were especially loving and supportive over the last several years. Additionally, the family would like to thank Maria Elena Celaya for her compassionate and loving care.
Funeral services will be held at the Church of St. Clement, 810 N. Campbell St. on May 18, 2017 at 11:00 am, with The Rev. William C. Cobb, D. Min., officiating. Honorary Pallbearers will be Mr. Driver's five grandsons and his four God-sons; Donald Ball, Clay Lowenfield; James Feuille and David DeWetter, as well as his dear friend Richard Snow, Boise, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Church of St. Clement, or the charity of your choice.