McAllister, Walter Williams, Sr. (1889–1984)

By: Caroline B. Bass

Type: Biography

Published: August 1, 1995

Updated: July 30, 2020

Walter Williams McAllister, Sr., business, civic, and political leader, son of Frank William and Lena (Stumberg) McAllister, was born in San Antonio, on March 26, 1889. His grandfather, Samuel W. McAllister, who migrated from Kentucky to San Antonio before the Civil War, served as justice of the peace and judge of the Corporation Court of Bexar County. McAllister received his B.S. in electrical engineering in 1910 from the University of Texas. He was a charter member in 1919 and second president of the San Antonio Kiwanis Club, a Mason, and a thirty-third-degree Shriner. McAllister, with James Otis Loftin, founded the San Antonio Union Junior College District (now Alamo Community College). He served as its first president and on its board from 1945 until 1960. He was founder of San Antonio Savings Association in July 1921 and was chairman emeritus at the time of his death. In 1953 he was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the supervisory agency for savings and loan associations headquartered in Washington, D.C., where he served until 1956. After his appointment to the San Antonio City Council in 1960 to fill an unexpired term, he was elected mayor and served five two-year terms until 1971. During his tenure as mayor, he was honorary cochairman of HemisFair '68. The McAllister Expressway in San Antonio was named in his honor. The Walter W. McAllister Centennial Chair in Savings Institutions was established in October 1983 in the Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, UT Austin. On March 26, 1913, he married Leonora Alexander of Dallas, daughter of Col. Charles H. Alexander, founder of the Dallas Transit Company. She predeceased him in 1969. They had three children. Walter McAllister died on September 13, 1984, in San Antonio.

Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Men of Affairs of San Antonio (San Antonio Newspaper Artists' Association, 1912). North San Antonio Times, January 28, 1993. San Antonio Light, September 14, 1984. San Antonio Express-News, May 31, 1969, March 13, 1983.

  • San Antonio
  • Central Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Caroline B. Bass, “McAllister, Walter Williams, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995
July 30, 2020