Frank Walton; Athlete, LAPD Deputy Chief


Frank Emulous Walton, author, Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief and Vietnam adviser for the State Department, has died at the age of 84.

Walton died Nov. 20 at Tripler Hospital in Honolulu after a brief illness.

The multifaceted Walton spent 21 years with the LAPD, serving as second in command from 1955 to 1959 under the late Chief William Parker. He retired at the age of 50 to join the State Department as public safety adviser to the government of South Vietnam, training police there.

“I had to decide whether I would sit here the rest of my life or get out and do something else while I was still young enough,” Walton told The Times when he left Los Angeles. “I would never take over Chief Parker’s job--I’m no politician.”

He was just about everything else.

A swimming champion at the University of Oregon, Walton began his career as a lifeguard for Los Angeles County. In 1935 he published a book about his experiences titled “The Sea Is My Workshop.” Asked years later how well it sold, he candidly replied: “Lousy--about 1,000 copies.”


Another book, written about half a century later, fared better. That was “Once They Were Eagles,” published in 1986, about the pilots of Pappy Boyington’s storied Black Sheep Squadron. As a Marine in World War II, Walton was intelligence officer with the squadron.

Born in Vincennes, Ind., Walton attended high school in Berkeley and entered the University of Oregon in 1929. A member of Mensa, an organization of people with high IQs, he did graduate work at Stanford and Northwestern universities and Cal State Los Angeles.

After his stint as a lifeguard, Walton turned to police work, spending a couple of years as a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy before joining the LAPD in 1938.

A lifelong athlete, Walton won the national backstroke championship and set a world record as a student at Oregon. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic water polo team in 1948 and earned swimming medals for many years.

Walton retired from the State Department in 1971; he had retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1969. He lived in Hawaii during his retirement.

Preceded in death by his wife of more than 50 years, the former Carol King Shaw, Walton is survived by his second wife, Virginia.

Walton’s ashes will be scattered at sea by Honolulu’s Outrigger Canoe Club, to which he belonged for 33 years.

The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Frank E. Walton Boy Camp Fund of the YMCA, 2010 College Ave., Vincennes, Ind. 47591.