The actor who portrayed the father of Nelson County native Earl Hamner, Jr., has died in California. Ralph Waite was 85 when he died this week in Palm Springs. Waite portrayed Buckingham County native Earl Henry Hamner, Sr., who died in May 1969. The elder Hamner and his late wife Doris raised eight children at their Schuyler home during the Great Depression. The younger Hamner (pictured) created the CBS program “The Waltons” based on his memories of rural Virginia.