James Bedford Walker, age 87, whose 36-year career with Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (TFC) in La Vergne included an array of responsibilities ranging from entry-level accounting to vice president of sales, died Oct. 19 at his home in Nashville following a lengthy illness.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Willie Mae Buckner Walker; daughter, Gwendolyn Ann Walker, Nashville; son, Mike Walker (Lori), Charlotte, N.C.; and grandchildren, Bret Walker (Amy), Atlanta; Claire Walker Wiley (Clint), Nashville; and Kyle Walker, Charlotte, N.C.
Funeral services will be held Friday, October 23, 2015 at 11:00 am at the Donelson Church of Christ chapel with Bro. Rob McRay officiating. Interment will follow the service at Hermitage Memorial Gardens. Visitation with the family will take place Thursday, October 22, from 5 to 8 pm and on Friday, October 23, from 10 am until the time of service. Serving as pallbearers are Norman Amonet, Douglas Brown, Vernon Glover, Jerry Kirk, Wayne Robinson, Gordon Tanksley, Kenneth White, and Dr. Conrad Whitefield.
Born July 23, 1928, to the late Hardy and Bethany Allen Walker of Lawrenceburg, TN, Mr. Walker graduated from Lawrence County High School in 1946 and attended Draughon’s Business School in Nashville. Following a two-year hitch in the Army, he studied business administration at night at the University of Tennessee Nashville Center.
Mr. Walker began his TFC career in 1954 as a member of its Accounting Department staff. He worked in distribution with the regional cooperative from 1958 until 1965 when he was named director of training. For the next decade, he was responsible for recruiting and training college-level personnel for local management positions or to fill key roles at TFC. He became TFC’s sales manager in 1975, and his title was changed to vice president, sales, in 1983.
Nationally known as an authority on farmer cooperatives, Mr. Walker was vice president of the American Institute of Cooperatives’ board and at one time was board chairman of Universal Cooperatives, Inc., another interregional organization of which TFC was a member. Also active in community and church activities, he was a faithful member of Donelson Church of Christ and a past local and state officer of the Jaycees organization. In 1961, he was Donelson Jaycees’ Young Man of the Year.
After retiring from TFC on July 31, 1990, Mr. Walker was chosen in 1999 to receive the cooperative’s first Cooperative Spirit Award — its highest honor — given annually to a retiree in recognition of “his or her tireless efforts and devotion in fostering, nurturing, and promoting cooperative philosophy, principles, and loyalty throughout our Co-op system.” The top honor is now known as the James B. Walker Cooperative Spirit Award.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Evergreen Life Services, 6050 Dana Way, #200, Antioch, TN or World Christian Broadcasting, 605 Bradley Court, Franklin, TN.