OXFORD - James H. Walker, 97, husband of Alice K. Walker of Oxford, peacefully passed away on May 7, 2018.
He was born in Worcester on August 29, 1920, the third son of Paul H. Walker and Eleanor Smith (Schmitz) Walker of Wisconsin.
The family moved to Oxford in 1923 to a fifty-acre farm to raise their three sons, Paul, John, James and daughter Ruth. He attended Worcester Junior College, Northeastern University, and Clark University, as well as several colleges out west while in the service of his country.
Jim served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He was stationed in England with the 460th Sub Depot of the 446th Bomb Group (H) as tech sergeant, and was responsible for over four-hundred men in his bomber group. After the war, he returned to Oxford to care for his father. He taught boys at the First Congregational Church of Oxford and served as superintendent of Sunday school.
As a member of the choir, he met Alice Kulungian. Jim served as a Pilgrim Fellowship Advisor.
He was the office manager at Hovey Laundry in Worcester. Later, he was employed by Sheppard Envelope Company where he held multiple roles as office/advertising manager, purchasing agent, inventory control, treasurer and production manager, as well as customer relations for thirty-five years.
He belonged to the National Office Managers Association, and he became president of NOMA in the Central Massachusetts area. Later, he became president of the Worcester County Purchasing Agents.
Jim supported Boys Scouts and was involved with four troops as a merit badge counselor. He also served on the Eagle Scout Candidate Committee. Jim and Alice opened their home for others participating in the “Fresh Air for New York City Children” program, international students, as foster parents, and sponsored a Russian/German family who immigrated from war torn Europe.
Jim served on many town committees. He received a community service award from the Oxford Business Association and the town of Oxford “Tricentennial Key Citizen Award.” Jim served as a library trustee for fourteen years and was instrumental in the construction of the new library addition. He was a member of the Planning Board and served on the Personnel Board for thirty-three years. He was the Town Fence Viewer for twenty-three years. Last year, Jim received a certificate of appreciation from the Oxford Board of Selectmen for his countless years of service and commitment to the community in various capacities.
He was a fourth generation Mason, achieving the rank of thirty-second degree, and served as secretary of the Oxford Lodge of Masons for many years.
He was a Life Member of the VFW Post 5663, the American Legion Post 58, and the 8th Air Force Historical Society. His service in the Oxford VFW Post 5663 included twelve years as quartermaster, two years as post commander, and more than twenty-five years in the Oxford Memorial Honor Guard.
Upon retirement the Walkers started Walker’s Greenery, and joined the MA Christmas Tree Association, raising and selling over eight thousand “choose and cut” Christmas trees. They joined the Hemerocallis Society to raise and pollinate daylilies. His success with plants and Christmas trees provided endless gifts to churches, military and non- profit organizations, neighboring towns, garden clubs, as well as gardeners that lacked funds.
Jim leaves his wife of sixty-seven years, Alice; three sons; David (Marie) and sons Christopher (Cristin) and sons Kevin James and Dylan, Jonathan (Jessica) and son Benjamin, Brian (Joanne Winsor) and son Jason; Michael (Soundouss) and daughter Zahra.
He was predeceased by his son James Jr., two brothers Paul H. Walker Jr. and John R. Walker, and a sister Ruth E. Davis.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 355 Main St., Oxford, followed by a gathering in the church vestry from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A private graveside service with military honors will be held at North Cemetery in Oxford. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Friends of the Oxford Free Public Library, 339 Main St., Oxford, MA 01540, or to the First Congregational Church, P.O. Box 585, Oxford, MA 01540, and would be greatly appreciated. Paradis-Givner Funeral Home in Oxford is directing the arrangements.
Friday, May 18, 2018
First Congregational Church
355 Main Street
Oxford, MA 01540