James Lynn Walker of Waynesboro transitioned to his eternal home on November 10, 2019, at the age of 86, with his wife at his bedside holding his hand.
James was born in Carthage, Mississippi to Oscar James Walker and Libby Mahaffey Walker. He grew up in Jackson and married his high school sweetheart, Billie Jean McGraw. After completing school, he accepted a position with Campbell 66 Express in New Orleans in 1957, launching his long management career in the interstate trucking industry. James moved his young family to Waynesboro in 1963 to accept the position of Director of Transportation for Northern Electric Corporation. He was recruited by the Russell family of Chicago, who ultimately promoted him to their separate nationwide trucking company, Reliable Industries, where he served as President and Chairman of the Board until his retirement.
Mr. Walker was a man of strong faith and was a member of First Baptist Church Waynesboro for over 56 years. He held numerous service and leadership positions at the church throughout his life. He was also an active leader in his community. His greatest gift to Waynesboro was the Billie Jean Walker Memorial Exer-Walk, built in his late wife’s memory at Wayne General Hospital after her untimely death in a car accident. Mr. Walker served as President of the Waynesboro Rotary Club and the Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce and was one of the founders of The Community Chest and The Salvation Army in Waynesboro. He served on the board of the Mississippi Economic Council in Jackson and the Wayne County Economic Council, where he became Chairman of the Board and later headed the Council office for two years on a voluntary basis.
He married his second wife Virginia Eaton Walker on November 23, 1986. They enjoyed 33 years of marriage, traveling, exercising, and adopting and rescuing abandoned animals. James’ love for his dogs was manifested by having the ashes of two of them placed with him in his casket.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Billie Jean Walker; his parents and his stepmother Virginia Wiltshire Walker; brother Oscar Hubert Walker; step brother James (Bubba) Wiltshire; and sister Lynda Walker.
He is survived by his beloved wife Virginia (Ginger) Walker; three daughters, Genny Cochran (Andy) of Shubuta; Donna Walley (Schedell) of Muscle Shoals, AL, Beth Hodges (Mark) of Jackson; step-son William Howard (Billy) Eaton II of Waynesboro; step daughter Virginia Eaton Bates (Richard) of Laurel; sister Jean Howie; and brother Billy Walker, both of Jackson; step brother Henry Wiltshire (Sherry) of Brandon; four grandchildren, Rob Cochran of Hattiesburg, Jamie Cochran of Shubuta, James Walker Walley of Muscle Shoals, AL, and Micah Walley of Athens, AL; three step grandchildren, Camryn Bates, Chandler Bates and Callie Bates all of Laurel; three great grandchildren: Caden Cochran, Conners Cochran and Gracie Mae Walley; and two step great grandchildren, Riley Bates and Cayden Bates.
Visitation for Mr. Walker will be held from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at Freeman Funeral Home, 1305 Skyland Drive, Waynesboro. Funeral services for Mr. Walker will be held at 1:00 PM Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at Freeman Funeral Home with Dr. Steve Smith officiating. Mr. Walker will be laid to rest on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at Serenity Gardens in Waynesboro after a service at Freeman Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: the Alzheimer’s Association, Mississippi Chapter, 1900 Dunbarton Dr. Suite H Jackson, MS 39216; the building fund of First Baptist Church of Waynesboro; or to a charity of your choice.
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