Winston J. Walden saved Mary R. Lowe and her son Jeffrey R., from drowning, Tampa, Florida, June 21, 1962. While Jeffrey, 2, was alone in its front seat, a four-door sedan moved backward down a sloping driveway, crossed a boulevard, and entered the Hillsborough River, where its momentum carried it away from the bank. Mrs. Lowe, 33, ran after the vehicle, calling for help from Walden, 27, electrician, who stopped his truck. Mrs. Lowe kicked off her shoes and jumped into the river, spraining her foot severely on a submerged rock. She swam toward the sedan but stopped 18 feet from the bank in distress from pain. Without removing any of his clothing, Walden dived into the water and swam to Mrs. Lowe. He towed her to wadable water and carried her to the bank. Walden then swam 90 feet to the sedan, the front end of which had begun to sink in water 17 feet deep. Unable to open the front door because of the water pressure, Walden opened the rear door. As he lunged onto the rear seat, the water forced the door shut. Walden lifted Jeffrey, who was standing on the front seat in water to his shoulders, into the rear compartment and held him above the rising water. Unable to open the window because the crank had been removed, Walden kicked out the glass, sustaining deep lacerations of his leg. He then clamped his hand over the nose and mouth of Jeffrey and thrust him ahead of him as he swam through the window opening. Surfacing with Jeffrey, Walden held him out of the water and swam toward the bank. Walden’s head occasionally went under, and he swallowed water. With effort he swam to within 40 feet of the bank, where he suffered a severe cramp in his injured leg and was submerged briefly, taking in more water. Supporting Jeffrey, Walden swam 15 feet more with difficulty and then felt he could go no farther. He thrust Jeffrey five feet to a woman, who waded with him to the bank. Walden swam to wadable water and then was aided to the bank by a man and a youth. Walden collapsed, his leg bleeding profusely. Jeffrey, Mrs. Lowe, and Walden, whose leg required more than a hundred stitches, recovered.
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The Rev. Winston Joseph Walden, 42, of Oak Hill, W. Va., died on Dec. 7, 1977, in a Beckley, W.Va., hospital. Burial was in Huse Memorial Park, Fayetteville, W. Va.
Born at Copper Hill, Tenn., he was the son of William Jackson and Lula Gregory Walden, a member of the Salem Road Free Will Baptist Church, and a Korean War veteran.
(Edited from an obituary in The Fayette Tribune, Dec. 15, 1977.)