Longtime business, civic leader Walls dies at 86

John W. Walls, a business and civic leader who served as president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce from 1977 to 1992, died Friday at 86 after a brief illness, the Chamber announced Monday.

Walls was the fifth of seven presidents in the Chamber's 91-year history and led the group through a period of steady growth.

The  Knightstown native and Indiana University graduate also served as senior deputy mayor of Indianapolis under Richard Lugar in the 1970s and was heavily involved in creating Unigov. In addition, Wall was the very first executive director of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee.

Wall, who served in World War II as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Force, was the first chairman of the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (now IndyGo) and president of the Metropolitan Development Commission.

He received a Sagamore of the Wabash award, considered the state's highest honor, from three different governors.

Visitation will be at Crown Hill Funeral Home from 4 p.m to 8 p.m. Wednesday. A memorial service will be at St. Luke's Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th St., at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

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