Three-time Olympic equestrian Walter Staley dies

October 12, 2010

Three-time Olympian Walter G. Staley Jr has died in Mexico, Missouri, aged 77.

Walter Staley
Wally, as he was known to friends, rode with the United States equestrian team in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, where the US squad won the bronze medal in the three-day event.

He also rode for the US in the 1956 Games in Stockholm, and captained the equestrian team in the Rome Games in 1960.

His highest individual achievement was an individual gold medal in the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City.

He remained an active supporter of the US equestrian team and the Olympics throughout his life, and carried the torch in the Olympic Torch Relay in 1996 on its way to the Atlanta Games.

He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Geology. He continued his education with a Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering and a Master of Arts in Geology from Washington University in St Louis. He later received a Ph.D. in Solid State Science from Pennylvania State University.

He returned to Mexico, Missouri, in 1968 with his family, where he was employed at the A.P. Green Company until his retirement in 1992.

Over the course of his 24-year career with the plant, he worked as a research mineralogist, raw materials manager, research engineer, research manager and research consultant.

He was a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church in Mexico, where he had served as both a Deacon and an Elder, as well as on many church committees.

He served on the Geology Development Board of the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Audrain Humane Society, the Miriam Arnold Edmonston Charitable Foundation Board, and held positions of president and secretary-treasurer while serving on the board of the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation.

Within the Mexico community, he has served as a Cub Scout leader, a 4-H leader in horsemanship, and a baseball coach for the Khoury League youth baseball programme.

He was a dedicated athlete who enjoyed the outdoors, and maintained a profound love for animals, both as sports partners in the field and friendly companions by his chair.

He was the son of Walter G. Staley and Martha Green Staley, of Mexico, and the grandson of Allen P. Green and Josephine B. Green, also of Mexico.

He is survived by numerous family members, including his wife of 49 years, Katherine.

A private family burial is planned, with a memorial service to be held at the First Presbyterian Church at 10am on October 14. Memorial donations may be sent to the Audrain Humane Society, the First Presbyterian Church or to the donor's choice.