By Marlena Chavira-Medford
Solana Beach resident Walter Oliver has spent a lifetime serving his country in the U.S. Air Force, a career that took him across the nation. Now the retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant has returned home to sunny Southern California, where he dedicates his days to helping to raise his five children and serving the community in his rare free time.
After graduating from San Diego High School in 1975, Oliver earned a degree in banking and finance from San Diego City College. He joined the Air Force in 1980, serving in Alaska, California, Nebraska, South Korea, and Washington D.C. His last assignment was working in the Air Force’s Budget Office in the Pentagon, where he met his partner Dave Roberts. In 1995, he graduated from Strayer University in Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in business management. In 2000, he retired and moved to Solana Beach to join Roberts.
Oliver and Roberts have been involved with the San Diego County’s Foster Care program for a number of years and are now the proud parents of five children: Robert, 15; Alex, 10; Julian, 7; Joe, 3; and Natalee, 2. Oliver is also a member of the Solana Beach Friends of the Library, Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society, Solana Beach PTA, and a charter member of the Del Sol Lions Club.
- What brought you to this neighborhood?
When I retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service, my partner was living here and I moved here to join him.
- What makes this town special to you?
I really like the small town appeal of Solana Beach along with the special people that live here. It’s kind of like the theme song from the series “Cheers” — “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”
- If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract, or improve in the area?
Traffic. I find the traffic here horrendous. Not just the freeway, but local street traffic. I take my kids to school and it takes me 45 minutes! I’d like to have traffic fixed — but I don’t know how.
- Who or what inspires you?
My family inspires me. My spouse amazes me with all the things that he does, and he still has time to play two-square with our 7-year-old, play catch with our 10-year-old and our 3-year-old sons, and helps in changing our 2-year old’s diaper, and teaching our 15 ½ year-old to drive. Our sons and our daughter are all respectful (age appropriate of course) and they inspire me to do my best so that they are as proud of me as I am of them.
- If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
I am assuming that this would be in addition to my family. I would invite John F. Kennedy, Lady Diana, Mother Teresa, my deceased mother, Lucille Ball, Cher, Abraham Lincoln, and Jesus.
- Tell us about what you are currently reading.
Considering that I have a 2-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son, I am reading “Your Three Year Old” and lots of potty training books.
- What is your most prized possession?
When I was 3 years old, my mother went into the hospital to give birth to my little brother. My father, while he was taking care of me, got me a spoon with Charlie McCarthy on it. Although I lost the original one, my sister and brother found an exact replica and gave it to me for my 40th birthday.
- What do you do for fun?
Whatever the family wants to do or is doing. For example, right now we are in the throes of Little League baseball season. Our son Alex is in the Solana Beach Little League "Majors” and Julian is in “AA.” Our weekends are filled with baseball, from one to the other, sometimes two games at the same time in different locations. In my spare time, I like working with the Friends of the Solana Beach Library and the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society. Both of those organizations are filled with outstanding people that I really enjoy sharing my limited spare time with.
- Please describe your greatest accomplishment.
I would have to say that my greatest accomplishment is my family. Without my family, I am nothing. Trying to keep all seven of us (five kids and two parents) together and in the same direction, encouraging each of them to achieve their own individual goals. I am so proud of each of them for each of their accomplishments and I feel that their success is a reflection on me.
- What is your motto or philosophy of life?
My philosophy is actually a line from a song by Andrew Lloyd Weber: ”Love Changes Everything.”