Walter “Wally” B. Updike, owner of Wally’s Mills Avenue Liquors, died Friday of complications from diabetes.He was 65. Opened in 1954, the bar became an Orlando institution in the Colonialtown neighborhood. Updike took over the family business in the 1970s and, after his father’s death in the late 1980s, the bar’s name was changed to Wally’s Mills Avenue Liquors. On Sept. 18, 2004, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, District 4 City Council Member Patty Sheehan presented Updike with the key to the city of Orlando and saluted Wally’s as a “pub” that is “frequented and patronized for fellowship, spirits and a friendly atmosphere.” Updike told Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell that he didn’t know if his father was the smartest or the luckiest man in Orlando for deciding to open a bar in that part of town. “The bar is his and his father’s legacy,” said his wife of eight years, Linda Styles-Updike. “It was like the family he never had, being an only child. It was where others went whenever they didn’t have a place to go during the holidays, so he always tried to stay open.” Wally’s is known for serving some of the stiffest drinks in town because Updike’s father believed that “you give a man a good, stiff drink for his hard-earned dollar.” At least once a week after serving two of his favorite clients — one a Republican and the other a Democrat — their stiff drinks, he stirred up the conversation by asking them a controversial political question. “Walter was a conservative who enjoyed listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity,” said his wife. “And he loved to get people going. He also was a devout Christian, which may surprise some people. A lot of people thought he went to church because I made him, but there was nothing he enjoyed more than being in the house of the Lord.” Born in West Palm Beach, Updike and his parents moved to Orlando when he was 6. Soon after, his father opened Orange Liquors 2, also known as Mr. Roy’s Place and U&W Liquors, along Mills Avenue. After graduating from Boone High School in 1961 and earning a bachelor’s degree in education from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina in 1965, Updike served in Vietnam for two years and was a recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He then taught high school math in Hartsville, S.C., and worked as an insurance adjuster for Allstate Insurance before returning to Orlando in 1969. For more than 15 years, Updike was Santa Claus in Orlando’s Christmas parade. He also supported programs that served needy children. “Walter was a very, very gentle man who couldn’t say no to anybody, which frequently got him in trouble,” said his wife. “He was the softest touch in the world . . . and would give away his last dime.” During University of Central Florida homecoming parades, he and his poodle, Charlie, waved at the crowd aboard the Varsity Club float, which supported UCF athletics. Updike also is survived by his stepson Ray Bonis of Orlando, Wanda Bonis and grandson Christian Bonis. A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at College Park United Methodist Church, 644 W. Princeton St., Orlando. All Faiths Funeral Home, Orlando, is handling arrangements. Martha Phifer can be reached at [email protected] or 407-420-5259. Copyright (c) 2008, Orlando Sentinel Tags: 1965

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