Wally was born in Kingsport, Tennessee where he attended Dobyns-Bennett High School and was very involved in athletics. On the football team, Wally started at quarterback or safety all 3 years and led his team to the state championship in 1959. He was named Captain of the All-State team and East Tennessee player of the year. Wally was also named to the All Big 7 Conference team, as well as the All-Southern and All-American high school teams.
Athletics were very important to Wally during his time at Dobyns-Bennett, where he lettered in four sports. A talented and respected quarterback, his consistent performance and leadership on the football field during three years at Dobyns-Bennett led to scholarship offers from several colleges and universities, including the University of Alabama, University of Kentucky, University of South Carolina, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the one he ultimately committed to - Wake Forest University.
Wally attended Wake Forest University on a full athletic scholarship where he lettered in football all three years of his varsity play as starting quarterback or safety. During his time with the Wake Forest football team, he was privileged to play with notable teammates such as Brian Piccolo and John Mackovic.
During his summer breaks from college, Wally satisfied his love of sports by coaching youth baseball teams in the Eastman and city recreation leagues. After graduating college and starting a family, he stayed involved with sports through establishing and coaching various youth league football and baseball teams.
After graduating from Wake Forest University, Wally proudly served his country for two years as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Gordon, Georgia and Fort Huachuca, Arizona. While at Fort Huachuca, he continued his love of sports by coaching and playing with his unit's basketball, softball, and flag football teams.
In 1964, Wally began a career with Eastman Chemical Company and was quickly sought out by one of his youth sports mentors, Lewis Reagan, to work at the company's credit union. He discovered his vocation in helping members at Eastman Credit Union, the largest credit union in Tennessee, where he served many years as a Senior Vice President and retired after 33 years of service.
Wally's love of Kingsport and its people can be seen in his service throughout the years to his church, First Baptist, and to organizations such as Tennessee Baptist Children's Home, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Providence Medical Clinic and anyone who needs a helping hand.
Wally feels very blessed to have been raised in Kingsport in a loving, close-knit family and to have had the pleasure of spending most of his life here. If you ask him, he will tell you that Kingsport and Dobyns-Bennett High School have influenced his life in countless ways and he feels blessed to have spent his formative years with teachers, teammates and coaches from Dobyns-Bennett. He credits one coach, Cecil Puckett, with influencing his life more than anyone except his parents.
Wally resides in Kingsport with his wife, Debbie, and enjoys spending time with family, church activities, playing golf with good friends, travel, and playing with his two dogs, Dolly and Ella. He dearly loves and has been a good role model to his two daughters (Luci Gage and Jan Walker), one son (George Bridwell), one stepson (Toby Murph) and eight grandchildren.