At the end of County Road 393S on 30A is a park and public beach access that is used by many every day.
The name of the park is Ed Walline.
Most who use the park and beach access never knew the man for whom it was named or anything about him.
At his funeral on March 24, 1975 people who knew Ed Walline said he was the most honest man they had ever known. He would help anyone do anything, if he was able.
Edwin Rurick Walline was born to Adrian and Edla Walline in
Weighing in at just over 2 pounds, Walline had rickets when young and suffered a handicap for the rest of his life.
Walline's mother had a heart condition and couldn't take
Adrian and Edla homesteaded on 180 acres in South Walton between the two
The family bought supplies from a boat that would come to Point Washington once a month.
Ed only finished the 11th grade, but he was very smart, said his friend, Malcolm Patterson.
As an adult, Walline had a variety of jobs. The governor appointed him to the position of a constable in 1937.
During World War II he worked at the shipyard in
He also assisted in cattle drives, worked as a merchant marine on
A confirmed bachelor, Walline met his wife, Jane, in the early 1950s and they married in 1952. They had one child — Adrianne — who still lives in the area.
Walline's hand helped steer the community. He served on the Board of Trustees of Chelco, the local REA, the Board of Rural Renewal Housing of Walton County, he was on the Board of Directors and was a founding father of the South Walton Volunteer Fire Department. He was a member of the Lions Club, the Masonic Lodge, he was a founding father and chairman of the South Walton Mosquito Control District, and a member of the
Walline retired from building in 1970.
His funeral in 1975 was held at Point Washington UMC, which was packed with people, and more stood outside. The sheriff attended and the procession was more than 2 miles long as it made its way to
"The people who spoke at his funeral said he was the most honest man they had ever known, always willing to help a friend," said Adrianne.
"Ed was a wonderful man who had overcome much to become successful in life," said Patterson, who was the first executive director of the Walton County Tourist Development Council. "He was a master builder and a very smart man who was often discriminated against because of his handicap. He built most of the early fine homes in this area. He was a hands-on builder; on the job every day, wearing a tool belt, directing and doing most of the work. He started and nourished the Mosquito Control District and would be quite proud of what that organization is today. The park that is named for him was to pay tribute to a man who had overcome so much and accomplished so much personally and given so much to the community. I had the great honor of knowing Ed very well and calling him my friend. So few people living here now have any idea who he was or the contributions he made and left behind. The park was already named when I came on board at the TDC in 1988, but we made improvements. Building it was a labor of love for me. Every day that I pass it or hear the name, I recall the wonderful man whose name it bears."
"He was the bestest guy," agreed his daughter. "Naming a park for him was quite an honor."
The park was named in 1987.
Adrianne, who was born and raised in South Walton, now lives in DeFuniak Springs. She has compiled a book of photos of the area named "Vintage Life in South Walton." The photos date back to 1912.
A lot of the acreage homesteaded by her grandparents was sold to DuPont, which is now the St. Joe Company.