SHADY CORNERS, VT—The people of Shady Corners (pop. 712), a sleepy little town near the Vermont-New Hampshire border, came out in full force Sunday to say goodbye to the man they knew as their pastor, their neighbor and their friend: Rev. Walter Booth.
Though the end was sudden, those who knew him say he died just as he lived—of a massive heart attack.
"Pastor Booth touched all our lives," said close friend Wayne Patterson in a moving eulogy. "Whether he was making the scriptures come alive with his flair for storytelling, or helping a parishoner in a moment of spiritual crisis, or simply collapsing to the floor, gasping for oxygen, Walter was someone special."
Patricia Grolier, a member of Booth's congregation at Holy Christ Almighty Lutheran Church for over 30 years, also remembered the minister fondly.
"Every Christmas, Pastor Booth would go door-to-door visiting shut-ins and the elderly, singing 'Joy To The World' and yelling, 'Call the damn paramedics!'
Added Grolier: "Gigantic coronary failures were what the pastor was all about."
"Walter Booth was a constant source of inspiration and friendship," Shady Corners physician Henry Boyd said. "He was a constant patient, as well."
Andrew Schulman, pastor of First United Lutheran Church in nearby Plovis, was recently named Booth's successor.
"I may never be the minister he was," said Schulman, "but I can only hope my constant near-drownings someday allow me to fill his shoes.