OBITUARY: Walter Lawrence Rattler

by Mar 31, 2023OBITUARIES0 comments

Walter Lawrence Rattler, age 89, of the Wolfetown/Big Y Community, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Cherokee, North Carolina to the late Woodie Cornsilk Rattler and John West Rattler on Sept. 25, 1933.

He entered Cherokee Boarding School at the age of 9 and graduated in 1947. Immediately after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served his country until his retirement as a Staff Sergeant in 1970. He was stationed in Washington, D.C.; Georgia; Texas; and New York, before heading overseas to serve in the Vietnam War and Korean War. While overseas, he had tours in Korea, Greenland, Germany, Vietnam, and Japan.

Being so far from home and family, Walter found ways to pass the time.  He became a black belt in Karate and Judo, and a renowned fast-pitch softball pitcher. After his time in the service, Walter graduated from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, as a Registered Nurse. His love and compassion for the healing of people guided his career to care for patients at Asheville Kidney Center, Craggy Correctional Center, and Cherokee Indian Hospital, where he retired.

As a fluent Cherokee speaker, Walter was passionate about his Cherokee Heritage. He embraced his Cherokee Culture by teaching the language, becoming an artisan of Cherokee crafts, and traveling on the pow-wow circuit where he was known for his pork skins. Walter was a loving husband to Theresa Arch Ratter for 35 years, where they built a family who supported his kids and grandkids in all their endeavors. He loved to watch them at their sporting events but was most proud of all of them when he would find them demonstrating their Cherokee Culture.

In addition to his parents, Walter is preceded in death by the love of his life, Theresa Arch Rattler; daughter, Loretta Rattler Adams (Doug); and brother, Norman Rattler.

He is survived by children, Dawn “Squirrellie” Jumper, Special Son Dave Jumper, Debra Thomas (Roy); grandchildren, Clareece Rattler (Evan), Karina “Botch” Jumper, Brionna “Bri” Jumper, Brianna Lambert, Vanessa John (Frank); great grandchildren, Zaynon Taylor, Gogi Jumper, Andre Williams, Liam John, Benny John, Orie John, Arthur John; brother, Diamond Rattler of Fayetteville, N.C.; special friends and family, Sarah Teesateskie and family, Dewitt Chekelelee, Cruz Galaviz, Bo Crowe, Daniel Carroll, Joyce Dugan, Joe Lee (Joann), and BINGO family.

A visitation will be held on Saturday, April 1 at Cherokee Baptist Church beginning at 5 p.m. Walter will remain at the church until the hour of service on Sunday, April 2 at 10 a.m. Burial will be in the Rattler Family Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Zaynon Taylor, Dave Jumper, Evan Watty, Michael Lossiah, Dewitt Chekelelee, Ryne “Slaw” Sampson, Timber Sampson, Cameron Sampson, Logan Teesateskie, Jack Jack Teesateskie, Jeremy Saunooke, Daniel Carroll, Micah Swimmer, Ogana Swimmer, Aniyah Younce, Zahay Grant, Bo Crowe, and Andrew Oocumma.

Long House Funeral Home assisted the family with final arrangements.