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Dr. William Leroy Walker, 78, of Winona Lake, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 at 10:17 p.m. at his residence in Grace Village Retirement Community, Winona Lake.
He was born Jan. 4, 1932 in Flagler, Colo. to Roy Fred Walker and Jeanette (Teter) Walker. On June 27, 1954 he was married to Donna Jean Troyer, who survives.
Dr. Walker was a graduate of Kirksville State College (currently known as Truman University). After receiving his D. O. degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery, Kirksville, Mo. in 1957, he served a one-year internship in Orville, Ohio at the community Osteopathic Hospital. He relocated with his family to Rittman, Ohio where he practiced as a family physician and enjoyed functioning as the â€śteam doctorâ€ť for the athletic teams there. He was involved in his church and his community through organizations such as the Lions Club and P.T.O. and in 1972, was chosen as â€śCitizen of the Year.â€ť
From Aug. 1969 to June 1971, he and his family traveled to the Central African Republic where he served as a missionary doctor with the Grace Brethren Church, providing much needed surgeries and administering health care and training to the African people at the station of Boguila and many bush dispensaries. Along with that medical care, he attended to their souls, praying at the bedsides of his patients and sharing the hope of Christ. Two years after returning to Rittman, he decided to become a full-time medical missionary and moved his stateside residence to Winona Lake, where he shared a home with another physician, alternating 2-year missionary terms and trading homes so as to supply medical care on the field at all times. (One practiced in Warsaw and the other in Africa for two years, then switched places for the next two years, etc.).
After retiring from missionary work in the early 1990s, he continued his private practice in Warsaw, treating the ill and delivering countless babies (one of his favorite aspects of his job) until his retirement from active practice in 2001. He served as the â€śChief of Staffâ€ť at Kosciusko County Hospital in the 1990s.
Around the time of his retirement, he was awarded a â€śSpecial Personâ€ť award from many of his medical colleagues. As semi-retired, he helped â€śMed-Statâ€ť become a useful part of the medical system, serving as a physician there.
Dr. Walker also served as a volunteer on the board at Grace Village Retirement Center and Lakeland Christian Academy and in various capacities in his church. Dr. Walker loved music and once sang bass in a traveling menâ€™s gospel quartet â€“ â€śThe Brethren Four.â€ť He loved woodworking and gifted his family members with many mementos of his handiwork. He was often seen out on the golf course practicing his skills though never claimed to be very good. And one could never take the â€śfarmerâ€ť out of him â€“ loving the farm animals, birds, fishing, and on rare occasions â€“ hunting. He demonstrated servanthood and practiced what he preached in his life. He was a loving and involved father and grandfather and a devoted husband. The volunteering of his time to his community, his church, and his family was never-ending. He was known to give a warm hug to grieving patients, friends and family members. He will be lovingly missed by his family and many who knew him.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife: Donna Jean Walker of Winona Lake; four daughters, Karen (Carl) Hardcastle of Williamsport, Md.; Linda (Tom) Edgington of Leesburg; Jan (Bill) Remington of Warsaw; and Tina Walker of Geneva, Switzerland; one son, Dave (Denise) Walker of Paw Paw, Mich.; 12 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Also surviving are two brothers: Dr. Bob (Connie) Walker of Spokane, Wash.; Eugene Walker of Columbia City; and one sister, Barbara (Larry) Wilgus of Indio, Calif.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Visitation was held Sunday at Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home, 225 Argonne Road, Warsaw. His funeral service was conducted at 10 a.m. Monday at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, 1200 Kings Highway, Winona Lake, Indiana officiated by Pastor Bruce Barlow and Reverend John Teevan. Burial was at Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw.
Memorial donations can be made in Dr. Walkerâ€™s name to go towards well drilling to Integrated Community Development International a non-profit, faith based organization working in Central Africa. Checks can be made payable to ICDI, P.O. Box 247, Winona Lake, Indiana 46590.
Online condolences may be sent through the funeral homeâ€™s Web Site at www.redpathfruthfuneralhome.com.