SAN DIEGO — Sidney Walton, a San Diego World War II veteran who traveled the country even as he surpassed age 100, has died, his family announced. He was 102.
The veteran, who spent much of his adult life in San Diego, had been working on his “No Regrets Tour”: attempting to visit all 50 states and meet all 50 governors “in a campaign to raise awareness of the rapidly shrinking number of WWII vets and the sacrifices they made to save America,” his son, Paul, wrote.
“Sidney always regretted missing an opportunity to meet some of the last Civil War veterans, and wanted to give everyone a chance to meet a WWII veteran before it was too late,” Paul explained.
In the end, Walton came up just 10 states shy of his goal: He visited Oklahoma on Sept. 28 to meet his 40th governor, Gov. Kevin Stitt.
His son said that Walton “passed away peacefully” Saturday morning in Santa Monica, “surrounded by his loving family.” It ended a life marked by military service and advocacy for others who served.
“I joined the Army to fight Hitler,” Walton was quoted as saying. He left City College of New York at age 21 to enlist just nine months before Pearl Harbor.
He later had a civilian job at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, where he lived starting in 1960. Walton lived in Clairemont until his wife’s death in 1982, at which time he moved to Rancho Bernardo.
One of the many highlights in Walton’s later life included honors during the Super Bowl LIV coin toss. The San Diegan also met President Donald Trump in the Oval Office as part of ceremonies marking the 75th year since D-Day.
Funeral services will be arranged in San Diego, family said. Details were still pending Saturday afternoon.