Bo John, the main character in “Bo John’s Train”, was a positive African American male role model. There are men out there who are strong husbands and fathers. There are men out there who set the standard for their little boys of what type of men they should be when they grow up. These men also set the standard for their little girls as to the type of man she should marry.
Bo John was an outstanding example of exactly what any man should be- hardworking, honest, and kind-hearted. He was a very proud man. He had morals and values, and he insisted on instilling those morals and values in his children, nieces and nephews. He was also a very jovial, happy go lucky man. Always telling a joke or funny story, Bo John was always the center of attention as everyone within earshot was captivated by the unbelievable tales he would share.
Robert Lee Walton Jr., affectionately known as “Bo John” by everyone he met, was a kind, warm hearted man. He was given the nickname “Bo John” while in high school by his friends. He was a triple threat athlete; playing basketball, baseball, and football. He fell in love with my mother, Jacqueline, and they were married right out of high school.
After high school Bo John enlisted in the United States Army. He was an Airborne Paratrooper in the 101 Airborne Division. He jumped out of airplanes. Bo John attained the rank of Staff Sergeant, spending time overseas in Korea. He spent seven and a half years in the Army.
During this time, he married my mom, his high school sweetheart. This helped him make the decision to become a family man closer to home. After the birth of his first daughter- me, he received an Honorable Discharge and returned home to be with my mother and me.
Bo John began his railroad career with CSX Transportation as a Train Man/Conductor. He spent several years in this position before attending Engineer’s Training School Jacksonville, Florida. Bo John loved his career as a railroad man. He spent many nights away from his wife and children making an honorable living as a worker on the railroad.
After retiring from the railroad, Bo John was diagnosed with Cancer. At the time of the diagnosis, the cancer was pretty widespread. Although at times, there seemed to be little hope and he was in an extreme amount of pain, his spirits were always high, and he tried to comfort those around him. Even as his daughter, I never really knew how serious it was until it was too late. I have always wondered if he knew there was something wrong long before the diagnosis. We will never know.
Bo John touched the lives of so many people…just by being himself. He had a smile that could light up any room. People still affectionately speak of him, and when they do, their memory is always accompanied by a smile. I feel honored to have known Bo John personally, and even more honored to have been his daughter.