Jerry Tyler Walker, PhD, 89, of Summerville, South Carolina, formerly of Griffin, Georgia, passed away peacefully Friday, May 22,,2020 surrounded by family.
He was born on September 7, 1930, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the son of the late Wallace Burch Walker and Edith Tyler Walker. His brother, Robert Wallace Walker, predeceased him.
After growing up in Hartwell, Ohio, Dr. Walker graduated Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1952, where he met the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Bridges. They were married on June 6, 1953. Dr. Walker then entered the United States Army, serving 2 years in the Chemical Corps. He then entered graduate school at Ohio State University to study Plant Pathology, earning his Masters and PhD.
Dr. Walker worked for several years at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, including time as head of their research facility in Kitchawan, New York.
In 1969, Dr. Walker moved to Griffin to become head of the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Georgia, Georgia Station, where he worked until his retirement as a Professor Emeritus in 2000.
During his professional career, he published over 100 scientific and popular articles, including several entries in World Book Encyclopedia and editor of certain issues of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbooks. Over his career, he received numerous awards and honors from organizations such as National Science Foundation, American Society of Horticultural Science, Southern Nurserymen’s Association, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Urban Forest Council. He participated in numerous professional organizations including American Phytopathological Society and Society of Nematologists.
Dr. Walker was a member of the Rotary Club of Griffin, serving as President in 1979-1980. The club won Outstanding District Club that year.
In his retirement Dr. Walker became a Certified Arborist working with both the City of Griffin and Griffin Plant the Future to keep Griffin’s tree population up and remain healthy. He also served on the board of the Griffin Salvation Army for many years.
He was a dedicated member of St. George’s Episcopal Church where he was elected to various Vestry roles, participated on numerous committees and sang in the church choir.
Dr. Walker had many varied interests. Soon after moving to Griffin, Dr. Walker bought a farm in Pike County where he raised cattle for 45 years. It was his favorite place to go and he enjoyed talking to the animals. He was a 2018 Inductee into the Mid-Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame. He had a life-long love of tennis that he shared with his children. He also represented Georgia Agriculture at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was involved in relocating the pavilion from Centennial Olympic Park to the Georgia Station.
Dr. Walker’s greatest joy was spending time with his family, especially sharing the farm with his grandchildren and traveling around the country to conferences with his wife and children. He also enjoyed international travel having visited Great Britain, Ireland, Scotland, China, Australia, and New Zealand. The last two countries were on a trip he took with his daughter and granddaughter where he achieved a life-long dream to visit “down under”.
Dr. Walker is survived by his wife of almost 67 years, Mary; son and daughter-in-law Robert W. and Teresa White Walker of Flowery Branch, GA; daughter Ann and son-in-law Wil Riley of Summerville, SC; four grandchildren, Clint Walker, Jeff Walker, Logan Riley Morgan (Jared) and Walker Riley (Brooke); sister- in- law Ann Walker, nephew Brian Walker, nieces Lynn Hall (Jeff) and Karen Wunschel (Dewey), and their children Colin Hall, Kylee and Kelci Wunschel.
A family graveside service is planned at St. Paul’s Churchyard in Summerville.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial donations to St. George’s Episcopal Church 132 N. Tenth St. Griffin, GA 30223; Salvation Army of Griffin, 725 Meriwether St., Griffin, GA 30224; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – Wisconsin, 400 S. Executive Drive Suite 109, Brookfield, WI, 53005; or, the charity of your choice.
Arrangements by Parks Funeral Home, 130 West 1st North Street, Summerville, SC 29483.
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