James William Walker, 85
Funeral services for James William Walker, 85, of West Plains, were held Sept. 7, 2018, at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home in West Plains. Mr. Walker died Sept. 5 at Ozarks Medical Center, surrounded by loved ones, after a hard-fought battle against health issues caused by two recent heart attacks.
He was born Aug. 21, 1933, in a small rock house in Calico Rock, Arkansas. Later, his family moved to Gaines-ville, where he spent his childhood and young adult life. During sixth grade, he formed a bond with a young lady, Lois Payne, who would later become his wife. They were married March 28, 1953. During their 64 years of marriage, they lived in Gainesville, West Plains and Cabool. After her death in 2017 James’ zest for life diminished as he grieved deeply.
His strong work ethic began as a young man at Walker Lumber Co. in Gainesville. The Walkers’ work life together began in 1969 when they established the Walker Insurance Agency and later the Owens Insurance Agency, finally retiring in 2013. Mr. Walker and his family joined First Baptist Church in 1960. He was a devoted Christian whose faith sustained him until his passing. The friendships he and Mrs. Walker formed at FBC would last a lifetime. All those touched by these friendships cherish these memories dearly.
Mr. Walker passed to his two sons his love for tennis and running, instilling in them his quiet competitiveness. On many days, the three of them spent sunup to sundown playing endless sets of tennis. Mrs. Walker watched proudly and packed many a cooler with sandwich and drink. She was jokingly referred to as the tennis widow.
Mr. Walker later developed a love for running that would lead to his participating in 5Ks, 10Ks and ultimately a half marathon.
Those who knew Mr. Walker enjoyed his sense of humor and love for sharing stories of past. His friendly and kind demeanor lightened any conversation with laughter that will echo in the hearts of family and friends.
Survivors include his two sons, Jerry Walker and wife Chrissy and their daughter Sophia, all of West Plains, and Michael Walker and wife Anush of Burbank, California; granddaughter, Hillary Tugwell and husband Jim and their children, Emma, Kate, and James, all of West Plains; his brother Bobby Walker and wife Nancy of Gainesville; and special friend Bobbie Casey of West Plains.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Lois; three brothers, Charles Walker Jr., Walter Walker and Sid Walker; and two sisters, Irene and Mary.
Burial was in the Howell Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the United States Tennis Association or to First Baptist Church-West Plains and may be left at the funeral home. Online condolences may be expressed at robertsondrago.com.
Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, directors.