Widow remembers dynamic community activist

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A community activist and a catalyst behind LeMoyne-Owen college has died.

Many will remember Dr. Walter Walker as the dynamic president of Lemoyne Owen College during the 1970's and 80's.

"He brought some stability to the college," said Walker's wife, Sonia.  "At the time he brought community visibility and respect."

Walker's wife said her husband's love for education started when he was a child growing up in Chicago...

"He went to the University of Chicago lab school where the Obama children are, and he was identified as an intellectually gifted child," she said.

Walker graduated from high school in the tenth grade, got his college degree at age 20, and then joined the Air Force, where he became a top weather forecaster

His career included everything from the first African American accepted into Memphis Rotary to the first African American chairman of the United Way.

"He just came in and kind of took over," Sonia Walker said.

The couple met while both were doing social work in New York. Remembering Walker's marriage proposal still makes his wife blush.

"He said, 'You don't have to look any more. You've found a husband,'" she said.

They raised three sons, and were living a story book life when Walker got the dreadful news that he had Multiple Sclerosis.

"He said for a short time he thought 'why me' but he never whined about it," Sonia said.

Instead Walter Walker got busy, fighting for the disabled and working to improve the community.  While his health declined, his passion for life did not.

"He just was like, 'I can whip this. I don't need this. I'm not going to be dependant," Sonia said.

Walter Walker...gone, but not forgotten.