News came through from Scott Hamner, Earl’s son, today that his father, the creator of The Waltons, had passed away. Earl was 92 years of age.
My association with The Waltons began in 1996 when I put the Unofficial Waltons Home Page up onto the internet. Imagine my surprise and excitement when an email came through to me from Earl Hamner thanking me for keeping the memory of The Waltons alive. He told me of the upcoming Waltons reunion movie to be aired during Easter of 1997. On that Easter Sunday, my first Waltons Digest was sent to a small number of Waltons fans.
In 2004 I finally fulfilled a dream to travel to Schuyler and visit the Waltons Mountain Museum where I learnt much more about Earl Hamner, his family and his work. What a beautiful part of the world Schuyler is. I felt as if I was walking in the footsteps of the great man himself.
Then finally in 2007, a Waltons reunion, hosted by the Waltons International Fan Club, was held in Los Angeles and it was there that I was absolutely honoured to meet Earl and his wife Jane. What an incredibly giving man he has been over the years. And an absolute gentle man with a decidedly wicked sense of humour. I met up with him again in 2012 and was blessed to be able to share his stories and a meal with he and his lovely family.
I have the greatest respect for the Hamner’s as a family. Earl shared his parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters through his stories and characters in The Waltons. Walton actors continually tell fans how blessed they were to have been chosen by Earl to breathe life into his beautiful stories and words and how much family spirit there was on The Waltons set.
I am happy that the series has been released on DVD as it hasn’t been aired here in Australia for a long time. These beautiful stories are Earl Hamner’s legacy to us.
Thank you for your body of work Earl. Thank you for your generosity towards your fans. Thank you for taking the time to encourage a young woman from Melbourne, Australia all those years ago. Meeting you and your family has been an absolute highlight of my life.
The photo below was sent to me by a very dear Waltons friend who shared his interest in my website from the very beginning. At each of those trips to Los Angeles to attend the Waltons reunion I also visited the Warner Bros studios with other fans. Earl Hamner on the porch of the Waltons set is a memory that I will hold in my heart.