Hilton Head teen remembered as fashion diva, devoted friend and daughter

tbarton@islandpacket.comNovember 18, 2011 

Friends say Kendall Walton was both respected and loved.

A take-charge, demanding fashion icon. Strong-willed, sassy and posh. A witty personality dressed in fabulous outfits.

But a nurturing, caring and devoted friend -- one who would lend a sympathetic ear and shoulder to cry on as quickly she would critique an outfit.

She was both princess and Mother Goose, those who knew her said.

Those were the two sides of the Hilton Head Preparatory School senior whose death was mourned and whose diva lifestyle celebrated during a candlelight vigil Friday.

"Without her, I would never have any friends and she's never let me forget that," said close friend and fellow senior Dani Schatzman, 17. "To most of us she was a friend, and to some of us she was like a sister. To all, definitely a diva. She was an amazing soul and I know that heaven has gained a beautiful, new angel."

The 17-year-old died and four other teens were seriously injured Thursday night when Walton's car struck a tree on Hilton Head Island.

Walton, an honor roll student, had a "passion for fashion" and penchant for confrontation, Schatzman said.

At age 7, she learned how to sew her own purses and soon began sketching designs. Her dream was to land an internship with Teen Vogue or another major fashion magazine.

"We fought all of the time, but, somehow, our bond would never break," Schatzman said. "If she couldn't find the perfect outfit, she would sit in her bed and hide under the covers. She would not go out. And she had these big Prada sunglasses she wore with everything. She was 'it.' She was snappy and had her own way of looking at life. It was never a dull moment with Kendall around. She lived life to the fullest."

Friend Christine Quinn, 17, of Charleston remembers fondly two trips to New York with Walton, who yearned to end up in the Big Apple.

"She wanted to act and sing and she loved fashion," Quinn said. "She just had this drive to do everything she wanted."

Headmaster Anthony Kandel said Walton was "very well-liked and extremely talented." He called her an excellent singer who was interested in theater and the performing arts and was a standout member of the school's choir.

She played the glamorous and sophisticated Baroness Elsa Schrader in the school's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music" earlier in this month. It was a role friends say she was born to play.

"She was engaging. She was funny. She was inspiring. She really did a super job," Kandel said.

Walton's father, Ken, said his daughter would have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from the community.

"She was loved," he said. "She was a talented child that will be missed by everybody."

Schatzman said she knows her dear friend is looking down and smiling.

"She was always the life of the party. She loved to be the center of attention so I'm sure she's loving this right now," she said.

"Long live the queen."

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead

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