William R. (Bill) Walton was born April 11, 1923, in Forth Worth, Texas. Dr. Walton was a pilot during World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He then returned to college attending Amherst College where he graduated in 1949 cum laude with an Honors A.B. in Geology. He developed an interest in the ecology and paleoecology of foraminifera while at Amherst, while working during the summers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and, after graduation, for a year at Harvard. In 1950 he transferred to Scripps Institution of Oceanography where he studied modern foraminiferal ecology with Fred B Phleger. His Master’s (1952) and Ph.D. (1954) degrees were in marine geology.
After graduation Dr. Walton began his professional career as a paleoecologist with Gulf Research and Development where he worked on the Rose Bengal stain for living foraminifera. In 1957 he moved to Amoco Oil where he rose from Paleoecologist to Research Director for Geology and Geochemistry, Chief Geologist, and Exploration Manager for Latin America and the Far East. He retired in 1981.
From 1981 to 1985, Dr. Walton conducted independent research on foraminiferal ecology in his personal laboratory in Barnstable, Massachusetts. He also had visiting research and teaching appointments at Scripps and in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota. In September 1985, Dr. Walton returned to academia joining Northwestern University as Adjunct Professor of Geological Sciences.
On April 23, 2001 Dr. Walton died after a prolonged illness of cardio-pulmonary arrest in Valparaiso, Indiana.