Educated in the schools of San Bernardino, Walter A. Shay Jr., ran a freighting business which catered to the desert communities. Mr. Shay took on the added responsibility of operating the families 190 acre spread "located along Baseline rd., in what is now East Highlands Ranch," after his father was killed in a horse riding mishap Dec. 2, 1899. The previous year Mr. Shay embarked upon the career which would make him a local legend when he agreed to serve as deputy for Sheriff Charles Rouse.
Deputy Shay served under Sheriff Rouse for a period of four years ending when he was elected San Bernardino City Marshall in 1903. Mr. Shay's stint as Marshall culminated with Mayor Hiram M. Barton's appointment as San Bernardino's first police Chief. As Chief Shay would complete the first of three stints in 1905 at which time he became a special agent for the Pacific Electric railway. Two years later Shay returned to head the San Beranrdino Police force under Mayor S.W. McNabb.
The two year twitch led Mr. Shay to abdicate his dutities this time in favor of the Santa Fe railroad which named him special agent for the Arizona division and coast lines. This position held his attention four years at which time Mayor George H. Wixom "the two were related by marriage," lured him back to head the police department for the third and final time.
In 1916 Chief Shay joined the district attorney's office as a special investigator a role which kept his attention for a year and a half. It was 1918 when Shay changed jobs for the last time pinning on the badge of County Sheriff. Over the course of 13 years Sheriff Shay demonstrated time and again why so many civic leaders had trusted him to uphold the law. Walter A. Shay died August 2, 1931 after a pro-longed illness. He was succeeded as Sheriff by his nephew Ernest T. Shay.
Sheriff Shay is buried on the eastern edge of Pioneer Cemetery