Shawn P. Waller, age 47, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, July 1st, in Orlando, Florida. He was born in Apopka, FL on February 4th 1972.
He attended West Orange High School, completed basic training with the Florida Conservation Corps and, within three months, received his GED from Seminole Community College. Shawn then proudly enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1990, beginning an adventure which led to his becoming an Army Ranger, serving as an Airborne Infantry heavy weapons team leader. He later served in a similar capacity with the Army National Guard from 1997-2004. Shawn worked on the Lake Apopka Restoration project, earned a certificate in Fire Safety from the Florida State Fire College and was awarded a Florida Distinguished Service Award for his role in Operation Firestorm, 1998.
He was a big man with a gentle heart. His interest in nature and science from childhood led him to love animals and to study their habitats. As a fisherman, the pollution of Lake Apopka was close to Shawn’s heart. The Florida Conservation Corp provided Shawn the opportunity to partner with the Lake Apopka Restoration Project where he planted wetland plants behind protective barriers to provide habitat for fish and wildlife He also worked on projects with St. John’s Water Management.
From his early years through his teens he was an active member of 4-H where he acquired public speaking and leadership skills and became a member of the 4H Ambassadors and earned the privileged to attend the University of FLorida 4H Congress in Gainesville as a lobbyist.
Shawn loved art, Christian and classical music and playing guitar. He was an expert marksmen and loved to hunt. He also studied German, Spanish, Hebrew and became an avid student of Comparative Religion.
He is survived by his mother, Brenda Louise Gwinn and her husband Jon; his brother, Chris Waller, wife Tiffany and nephew Blake; Christy Jackson Tacti (Sissy); his maternal grandmother, Diane Anderson; maternal aunt Sandy Bekemeyer, 1st cousin Breann Bekemeyer and 1st cousin Michael Shaw; 1st cousin Michele Sanchez, husband Nick and grand-cousins Tyler, Alexis and Gage; dad Charlie Simmons, wife Suzy. and brothers Matthew and Greg.
There will be a military internment at Bushnell Veterans’ Cemetery on August 16th at 11:00 A.M.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
Loomis Funeral Home Chapel
Florida National Cemetery