David Randall Walvoord is the second of seven children born to Randall and Elizabeth Walvoord. David was born in Racine, Wisconsin on February 27, 1931.
As a child, David lived at 431 West Blvd in Racine. He recalls that the Bidstrup Family were Danish neighbors and ran a paint store, and that Roy Jensen’s family lived across the street.
David attended Fratt Elementary School in Racine and later went to McKinley Jr. High School.
In the summer, David would mow lawns for 50¢.
In the winter, snow plows would plow the streets and pile up snow in front of people’s driveways so they were unable to get their cars out. David would shovel them out for 50¢.
Most people had coal delivered to their house through a coal chute that ran into their basement. David would earn money by emptying out coal-fired furnaces of ashes for several homes in the neighborhood. He would haul these buckets of ashes in his red wagon to the dump grounds near the Jr. High School. He received 5¢ a bucket. It was hard work and he enlisted his younger brother Johnny to help.
David also had a paper route for the Racine Journal Times.
David would work for a truck farm (which were smaller farms that sold produce directly to the public) for 12½ cents per hour to pull weeds. He worked about 6-hours a day during summer. His mother would pack a sandwich and root beer for lunch. It was hard work.
On weekends, the whole family would go to the vegetable stand. They would pick 3 bushels of cherries, green beans, etc. and these small farms would let you keep one bushel. Mother would can them.
The kids would ride bikes all over Racine and would take picnics. Their street would loop around in an oval about ½ a mile long. An organized bike race would use that loop for a big race of about 4-miles with judges.
David remembers his father playing the clarinet in the city orchestra at Racine Park. His older sister Mary played the same clarinet.
In the evenings, neighborhood children would play kick-the-can, hide-and-seek, and red rover. Next to their house was a vacant double lot, and the fire department would flood the lot so the neighborhood could ice skate on it.
David and his family attended First Presbyterian Church in Racine.
David’s paternal grandparents (John and Mary Walvoord) lived about 10 houses down on 309 West Boulevard in Racine. Across the street from them was a ravine and the kids would ski and toboggan down it in the winter and play army and other games in the summer.
In 1945, David’s father was transferred to Amarillo, Texas and the whole family moved when David was 15-years-old. David remembers helping drive the car on the long trip.
In Amarillo, David attended Sam Houston Jr. High for ninth grade and played football and coronet in the band.
David went to Amarillo High School. He played coronet in the band.
As a senior, David was enrolled in Diversified Occupation at Amarillo High. It was a co-operative training program between school and industry. These students attended school only one-half of the day and spent the other half working in shops in the city of Amarillo. David worked at the Amarillo Globe-News in afternoon during the second half of his school day.
He graduated in 1950. David should’ve graduated in 1949 but he lacked one course because of his Globe-News job.
Ted Williams was one of David’s best friends in high school. Ted was really good at fixing cars and carpentry. Ted’s dad was our TV Repairman for many years.
Sometimes, Ted and David would go out on double-dates. David would provide the car, Ted would provide the gas, and the girls would provide the food for a picnic in Palo Duro Canyon. While most kids would go out on Saturday nights, David was busy working at the Globe-News.
Once a math teacher at Amarillo High challenged the class with a math problem. If anyone could solve it, she would give those students an “A” for the semester. David and Ted couldn’t solve it, so they went and talked to a Math Professor at Amarillo College. Before long, about five professors were working on solving the problem. David and Ted both got A’s in that class!
David wanted to take boxing but Amarillo High School didn’t offer it. He found out that Amarillo College had a boxing program called Golden Gloves and David enrolled. The training was difficult but David enjoyed it. He earned a boxing letter sweater still in his possession today. Boxing served David well in later life and taught him how to be disciplined and careful how he handled himself.
At the Globe-News, the guys (young kids mainly) would play all sorts of games in their downtime. To occupy that downtime, they would set up boxing matches, volleyball games, paper fights, etc. One time they played a prank on one of their co-workers’ by lifting his car up onto the loading dock.
One day, a new guy came to work at the Globe-News who was older than most of the guys. He was a tough-talking former marine and boasted how he could whip anyone.
A creative and resourceful co-worker named Jack Sparks, went to another room and sent a teletype from one machine in the newsroom to another.
All of a sudden, a press release came off the teletype in the newsroom. It said that David Walvoord had won the Middle-Weight Championship of the World at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The new guy read it and backed off his tough talk.
David had a mail room job at Globe-News and always had a paper route on the west side of town near the VA Hospital.
Early in his senior year, David joined the Naval Reserves. The Korean War was starting.
For training one summer, the new recruits were sent to the Gulf of Mexico for a two-week navy training cruise out of Port Arthur. They were on a PCE Patrol Craft that supported 70-90 sailors.
They rode the Santa Fe Silver Chief to Port Arthur, Texas. These young reservists, many away from home for the first time, were drinking and disturbing other passengers while roaming up and down the train, so conductors locked doors of their rail car and marched them to breakfast the next morning.
David was a radio man and would send messages in Morse Code. His unit was called Naval Security Group.
While on shore leave at Key West, Florida, David took some other sailors to church with him. They were all in uniform and a local family invited them to lunch at their home. The sailors stayed all day and played games with the family. They all returned to church with the family that night in a new Buick convertible (the father was a Buick Dealer). Afterwards, David and the others were dropped off at the ship in this fancy convertible with these other kids including some cute girls. Many of their shipmates were more than envious!
David’s first car was a black two-door 1934 Plymouth that he bought for $95. It was not a very good car.
Later he bought a blue four-door 1936 Dodge for about $300 that was much better car. It had a loose front end and once rolled on it’s side in the snow in a ditch but some friends help roll it back upright and David drove it on home.
He later bought a new maroon 1948 Studebaker 4-door sedan for about $1300.
His next car was a red 1948 Plymouth convertible which he had when he was going to West Texas State College in Canyon and after he got married. Taught Peggy how to drive this car.
David’s younger sister, Joann Walvoord, worked at the phone company with a young lady named, Naomi Ruth “Peggy” Phillips. They were both service reps at Southwestern Bell Telephone business offices. They were called tub mates because they shared a common work area separated by their account books. They were hired at the same time and were in the same training class. They became good friends.
Peggy would laugh at Joann because she would always have to answer the phone, “This is Miss Walvoord. No… that’s spelled W-A-L-V-(as in Victor)-O-O-R-D.” Peggy would answer the phone, “This is Miss Phillips.” No spelling necessary.
Joann asked Peggy to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. A week before the wedding, Joann asked Peggy to come on a blind date with her brother David and her fiancé, Bill Forbes. They went dancing at the Avalon night club on Amarillo Boulevard. David was a good dancer, much better than Peggy.
David and Peggy met again at Bill and Joann’s wedding and started dating.
Five months later, on April 13, 1952, David and Peggy married each other in Locust Grove Baptist Church in Locust Grove, Texas. The pastor that married them was Clayton Watkins who was the same pastor that baptized Peggy at age 13. Joann (Walvoord) Forbes was Peggy’s Matron of Honor and Bill Forbes was David’s best man.
Joann and Peggy, were still co-workers at Southwestern Bell. Now that they each were married, the tables were turned.
Joann Forbes answered the phone, “This is Mrs. Forbes.” (No spelling necessary). Joann would laugh when Peggy would now answer the phone, “This is Mrs. Walvoord. No… that’s spelled W-A-L-V-(as in Victor)-O-O-R-D.”
Naomi Ruth “Peggy” Walvoord
Peggy Walvoord is the fourth of five children born to Elmo and Callie (Henshaw) Phillips. She was born on December 30, 1933 in Shamrock, Texas. Her father died when Peggy was only 15. Their family grew up poor. Her mother, Callie, never learned to drive a car.
David and and Peggy Walvoord honeymooned in Oklahoma City. David became sick with the flu. When they got home, David went to the doctor and got a penicillin shot. David went home and had a hard time breathing. Peggy called Dr. Jackson and he told Peggy to put David in the hottest bath he can stand and he would be right over. Dr. Jackson made a house call and gave him a shot of adrenalin. David was deathly allergic to penicillin.
David taught Peggy to drive a car while they were dating.
Peggy helped David study and would help him type papers. Even though David could type at 45 WPM from his Navy training, he was a terrible speller. Peggy was an excellent speller and a good student. David’s grades got much better after marrying Peggy. David was really good at math and would score twice as high on an IQ test in math versus language arts which the tester thought was unusual.
David graduated in 1955 with a Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) and earned a Masters in Education (ME) in 1957.
David and Peggy’s first house was at 311 N. Carolina in Amarillo.
David and Peggy would treat themselves to a “coke float” nearly every night. They would turn in the coke bottles for the 2¢ deposit. They would save this money for the movies. Movies were 25¢. They would walk the nine blocks or so to the Rex Theater or the Lyric Theater in the San Jacinto neighborhood of Amarillo. They walked to save gas money which cost 29.9¢/gallon.
David and Peggy had three sons.
Keith David Walvoord was born October 18th, 1954 in Amarillo, Texas.
Kit Randall Walvoord was born October 20th, 1957 in Amarillo, Texas.
and Scott Anthony Walvoord was born April 15th, 1961 in Amarillo, Texas.
Church at First Presbyterian Church
David grew up with his family attending First Presbyterian Church in Amarillo. At one time David was a Deacon (1965) at the same time that his father, Randall H. Walvoord, was an Elder.
David served as Elder in 1968. 1976, 1980, 1990, 1999, each being a three-year term.
Each week on Monday mornings, David and his father would attend the Men’s Prayer Breakfast at church. David is still involved to this day and helps cook the breakfast each week. He has been continuously involved in this prayer breakfast for over 60-years.
For many years, every Sunday afternoon, David and his dad would play tennis together. Sometimes his sons or brother Gary would join them to play doubles.
In August of 1978, David lost his father, friend, and tennis partner to a heart attack.
David did his student teaching at Robert E. Lee Elementary in Amarillo. One day the school secretary got sick and the Principal needed help. He took the math teacher to help in office, and David took over the math class.
David was first offered a job at Margaret Wells Elementary, the same school his younger siblings attended, but fortunately, David was hired as a math teacher at Humphrys Highland Elementary School instead. He was paid $3300/year. This was in 1955 and David taught eight 40-minute classes a day. He taught there for 3-years.
David was Membership Chairman of Amarillo Teachers Association and went to a convention in Corpus Christi. Peggy and David returned home from the convention and returned to their home at 1909 S. Carolina at 2:00AM in the morning. Later that morning, David received a phone call at 6:00 AM from Dr. Alfred Little the Superintendent of the Borger School District. Dr. Little happened to be one of the Commanders at the Naval Reserve Center in the Surface Group in Amarillo, although David didn’t know him at the time. Dr. Little asked David to come to interview for a Principal’s job at James Bowie Elementary School in Borger, Texas.
Out of 72 applicants, Borger hired David to be principal of that school in 1958 for $5200/year. At the same time, David went to Albuquerque to test for an officer commission in the Navy. He was a Third-class Petty Officer, a radioman. In the Summer of 1958, David was commissioned as a Ensign in the Naval Reserves.
David was in the Reserves for 31-years and retired in 1979 as Lieutenant Commander.
In 1960, David was offered a Principals job in Amarillo at the brand-new Oak Dale Elementary School. His salary was $6000/year. They moved back to Amarillo and bought a house in the Olsen Park neighborhood at 4207 Emil. Peggy was pregnant with their third child at the dedication of this new school.
David served as principal at Oak Dale for 36-years and retired in June of 1996.
In 1969, the family moved to a brand-new house at 3300 Palmetto in the Belmar subdivision.
In Amarillo, Puckett Elementary Principal Bill Hill spearheaded Outdoor Education two nights and three days for 6th graders and later to fifth graders. Only eight or ten elementary schools participated and Oak Dale was one of them. David really saw the value of teaching children in this way. Students and teachers bonded and classroom effectiveness increased by this once-a-year program.
Guards from the Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant would teach gun safety — Highway Patrolmen would do the same. Len Slesick, the Weatherman for KVII-TV taught Meteorology. Math teachers would teach the mathematics of rocketry. Some children had never left home before.
The Eternal Optimist
David has a naturally positive outlook on life. He is known for his corny jokes and whether you’ve heard a particular joke or story or not, doesn’t matter, because he’ll tell it again! If it was funny the first time, it’ll be funny again! The roof could be falling down around David’s ears and if asked how he is, he’ll respond, “Everything is fantastic!”
Many of the ideas in this book became personal mantras in David’s life, including the response, “I’m fantastic!” instead of the usual, “Oh, I’m fine.”
Some of his favorite lines are:
- “We all need a daily checkup from the neck up to avoid stinkin’ thinkin’ which ultimately leads to hardening of the attitudes.”
- “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
- “Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”
- “It is not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude.”
David once asked his youngest son Scott, “Who is your biggest enemy?”
I responded, “Kit?” (my older brother).
David said, “No, Scott. Your biggest enemy, is — yourself.”
David is very generous and like a good Dutchmen, is frugal with his money. He never wastes anything. He taught his sons, that “it’s not how much you make that matters, but how much you save.”
David was a member of TEPSA (Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association).
In 1985, David was named TEPSAN of the year. David was elected president of the organization in 1986. “Better Together” was David’s motto.
Principals were allowed by their district to attend one conference per year. David picked the site for convention and Summer conference.
David’s year as President, the Winter conference was held in Dallas at the Loews Anatole Hotel with over 1500 Principals in attendance.
At this conference David held the first and only prayer breakfast. David had a connection to a prominent theologian to speak at this breakfast. His uncle, Dr. John F. Walvoord, was President of Dallas Theological Seminary was the keynote speaker.
David was selected as the National Distinguished Principal of the Year for Texas in 1985 and went to Washington D.C. to receive an award from William Bennett the Secretary of Education under President Reagan.
In 1996, David retired from the school system after 41-years as an educator.
After retirement, he became Membership Chairman of the Retired Teachers Association. He was the only chairman to get 100% membership of all 5000 teachers in district 16.
He served as President of Retired Teachers Association 1999-2002.
Taught a course one semester at West Texas State University: Elementary Principal-ship.
After retirement, David and Peggy were part of a ballroom dance club, took many cruises, and bought time share properties in Maui, Hawaii and Williamsburg, Virginia.
They traded these time shares for other vacations in dozens of places including Newport, Rhode Island; Sedona, Arizona; Palm Springs, California; Hallstadt, Austria; Gemund, Germany; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; Wisconsin; Orlando, Florida and many others.
They also took a guided tour of the Holy Land with a group from their church.
David and Peggy have been married over 63 years. They still live in Amarillo and are involved in church. They have three grandsons, Kirk, Tyler, and Preston, and three granddaughters, Caroline, Catherine, and Katie Grace, all of whom they are very proud. They lost their second son, Kit in January of 2014.