Several weeks before I moved to Missouri from Michigan I requested a Welcome to Mexico packet from the chamber of commerce.
It was supposed to have all the information someone new to the area might need like the names of local landlords, child care professionals and restaurants, and it did. The problem was it arrived at my apartment here in Mexico over a month after I moved in, meaning I had to pack up everything I own and drive over nine hours without any idea of where I was going to live once I arrived.
Recently I found that packet and realized it contained the name of one more local athlete I could profile from years past, three-time Olympic Equestrian rider Walter G. Staley, Jr.
Born in 1932, one of Staley's best international showings took place over the course of three days and garnered him a bronze medal in 1952 in Helsinki, but he also represented his country in 1956 and 1960.
In fact, according to www.horsetalk.co.nz, "Wally, as he was known to friends, rode for the U.S. 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."
Not one to forget his roots, Staley returned to Mexico in 1968 and worked for the A.P. Green Company until his retirement in 1992. He also helped carry the Olympic Torch to its final destination in Atlanta in 1996.
"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, where he served as both a Deacon and an Elder, as well as on many church committees. Staley also served on the Geology Development Board of the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Miriam Arnold Edmonston Charitable Foundation Board."
Staley held the positions of president and secretary-treasurer while serving on the board of the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation and worked with the Audrain Humane Society, as well. In addition to all of that he also managed to stay true to the area youths by coaching in the Khory League youth baseball program and serving as a 4H Horsemanship and Cub Scout Leader.
"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."
After his passing on Oct. 12, 2010, Staley had a private family burial and memorial service at the First Presbyterian Church. Memorial donations were sent to the Audrain Humane Society, the First Presbyterian Church or to the donor's choice.