MOUNT VERNON — Gerald M. “Gus” Walker, 89, of Mount Vernon, passed away Saturday, May 25, 2013, following a brief illness.
He was born in Mount Vernon on Feb. 16, 1924, to the late Iva (Coe) and Hubert M. Walker. He was preceded in death by his sister, Virginia (Bone) Walker, his brother, Wendall J. Walker; and his wife of 62 years, LouAnne (Koch) Walker.
He is survived by his daughters, Lynda (Emiel) Smet of Virginia, Claudia (Ken) Grove and Jennifer (Paul) Highnam of Mount Vernon, and Nancy (Mike) White of Marysville. Gus is also survived by grandchildren, Todd (Lora) Grove of North Olmsted, Kelli (Ken) Smith of Mount Vernon, Gretchen White of Indiana, Molly Highnam of Colorado, Brendan White of Marysville and Sam Highnam of Mount Vernon.
Gus graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1942 as valedictorian of his class. He attended the University of Michigan, The Ohio State University and Denison University majoring in Nuclear Physics. He served in the 31st Weather Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Force from 1943-1946. He was assigned to the Pacific Theater where his active service was in Saipan and Okinawa. In Saipan, Gus was a member of the Upper Air Research Team that discovered the existence of the jet stream while measuring the winds aloft for the bombers headed for Japan. Following his discharge from the Air Corps as a sergeant awarded three Bronze Stars, he returned from war to establish a career in the family business, H.M. Walker and Sons Lumber Co., which served Knox County from 1898-1982. Gus was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon for 65 years. He served as president of the Trustees, an Elder, and the Clerk of Session.
His involvement in Knox County organizations included: Chairman of the Knox County Red Cross for two terms, President of the YMCA Board, 2nd President and Charter Member of the Mount Vernon Jaycees, Vice President of the Ohio Jaycees, and treasurer and secretary of Kiwanis. He was the first recipient of the Jaycee Distinguished Service Award in 1954, and awarded the Memorial Award for Kiwanis in 2000.
His strong interest and commitment to political endeavors led him to become the Knox County Co-Chairman of the Eisenhower Campaign in 1952, to be elected to the Knox County Republican Central Committee, and to serve as treasurer of the Knox County Republican Executive Committee for 27 consecutive terms. Gus was also elected to the Knox County Board of Elections and served in this position for 12 years. He educated young voters in high school classes about the voting process and was instrumental in purchasing and programming voting machines for elections in Knox County for 35 years.
Gus was a great example of honesty, integrity and generosity. He was kind and caring to all who knew him.
When asked recently about his accomplishments, he stated, “I am most proud to have been married to my high school sweetheart for 62 years and to have raised four daughters who are college graduates with master’s degrees.”
There will be a military honor graveside service at 9 a.m. June 1, in the Mound View Cemetery in Mount Vernon. A memorial service will follow at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon. The family will receive condolences following the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County for the Gerald M. Walker Scholarship, P.O. Box 1270, Mount Vernon, OH 43050.
To share a memory or send a condolence to the Walker family, please visit the funeral home website at www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.
The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home in Mount Vernon is honored to serve the family of Gerald M. “Gus” Walker.Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.