Ted, an avid Chet Atkins fan, is a retired Marine who fought and was wounded in Korea. He was working as a truck driver when he met Chet in 1956 in Nashville's famous "Studio B". At that time, Ted was the regional director of the original Chet Atkins Fan Club started by Margaret Fields of Kentucky.
Over the years Ted and Chet traded letters and greeting cards, and in 1992 when Chet came to play Ted's hometown of Winston -Salem, NC, Ted was called and asked to make arrangements to get Chet situated in his hotel room and drive him to the show. This was to become an informal job for Ted for several more years.
Ted was even flown out to Austin, TX for the "Read My Licks" TNN special Chet made in May of 1994. The show featured guest appearances by Suzy Bogguss and Steve Wariner. Many, many folks owe Ted a debt of gratitude for introducing them to Chet. Ted always tried to share Chet with others when he could and when it was convenient for Chet. One of those fans was Allan Schwinn.
In the years leading up to Chet's death, Ted was often a guest at the Atkins home and he and Chet played once or twice together in Chet's living room. However, Ted says Chet was really more interested in hearing Ted play. "He loved to hear me play my 1931 Silvertone, tuned way down low," says Ted. "Once I was on Chet's back porch playing while Chet was on the phone with Jerry Reed," recalls Ted. " Chet said to Jerry "I'm here with Ted Walters and he's got his 31 Silvertone tuned down so low only the worms can hear it!"
"I really treasure the time we had alone together, just the two of us talking and joking around in the car. We were very close."
Ted recalls the last time he saw Chet was at Chet's house.
Chet asked Ted to play and Ted played "Don't Think Twice" to which Mister Guitar replied:
"That's Good, Ted."