After many years of battling Alzheimer's Disease and a short struggle with COVID-19, Charles William Walker, Sr. passed away on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the NC State Veterans Home in Salisbury.
A resident of Mocksville, Charles was born in Winston-Salem, on March 6, 1938, to the late William Martin Walker, Sr. and Wilner Hart Walker.
He is survived by his wife, Peggy Baker Walker; children, Patty Gruce (John), Charles W. Walker, Jr. (Dawn), and Denise Swearington (Frank); grandchildren, Rebekah Walker Hengy (Joe), Hillary Gruce, Morgan Swearington Robinson (Brent), Hayley Gruce, Charles Swearington (Kaitlin), and Laura Walker Jorris (Austin); great-grandchildren, Ashlyn, Walker, and Alaina Hengy; many nieces and nephews; a brother, W.M. Walker, Jr.; a sister, Jan Walker Jarrett (Robert); and a brother-in-law, Jimmy Baker (Linda).
In addition to his parents, Charles is preceded in death by his sisters, Virginia Blakely and Cheryl Walker; and brothers, Drewy Walker, Bill Walker, Bob Walker, and Gary Walker.
Charles graduated from Glenn High School in Winston-Salem where he served as Student Body President and courted the love of his life, Peggy. The two were married soon after Charles graduated. Shortly thereafter, he began serving his country as a Communications Specialist in the United States Marine Corps. Peggy enjoys telling the story of how Charles hitch-hiked all the way home from the base at Camp Lejeune just in time for their April 6 wedding in 1957. And from that day forward, Charles and Peggy continued to stand side by side for over 63 years, working together, raising their family, and ministering together throughout the area.
After working as a Production Planner for RJR Archer Aluminum and in insurance sales alongside his father and father-in-law, Charles was called to pursue his passion in the Music Ministry. He attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he studied Musical Theory, History, and Vocal Performance; however, most folks who knew Charles would agree that he was a “naturally-gifted” singer and musician, with a God-given talent. Charles loved music and came from a long line of gifted musicians and singers. At an early age, he and his siblings would gather around the piano and sing songs as his mother played the piano. Then as a teen, he sang in the high school glee club. As a young father, he would sit in the front yard and play the autoharp or banjo as neighbors gathered in the cool shade of evening to listen and sing along. Later, Charles served on staff as Minister of Music, Education, and/or Youth at several area Baptist churches including, Oaklawn, Bethany, Pfafftown, First Baptist-Mocksville, West Side, and Northwest. He also sang with a group of friends who performed at church and civic events. Charles was known for his beautiful baritone voice where he sang for many friends’ weddings, funerals, church services, and even his own children’s weddings.
In addition to music, one of the most fulfilling job responsibilities for Charles was spending time with young people. Charles had the ability to live out his faith through his actions which made a lasting impact on many teens as well as people of all ages. He loved the adventure of taking his Youth Group each summer to Camp Caswell and seeing the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of young believers in Christ.
Always one to “tinker” with electronics, Charles was a self-taught computer expert. With the age of personal computers, he learned to build and repair the hardware and loved all the challenges and conveniences these machines allowed. Always one to help, he spent many hours in people’s homes and businesses helping them with their computer issues before the time of “Geek Squad.”
Another hobby he pursued was photography and taught himself the mechanics and artistry by immersing himself into countless books and computer software to perfect his creations. Like most of his talents, Charles was a natural, and through the years he enjoyed capturing countless photos of his most-loved subjects - his family. He also enjoyed photographing God’s natural beauty and had the opportunity to document his travels through his photography. Many of his beautiful landscape, lighthouse, and sunset photos adorn the walls of his home. During retirement, Charles and Peggy journeyed to destinations throughout the U.S. and beyond. Some of their favorite places were the Grand Canyon and other areas of the western states, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, and the Bahamas.
His favorite place was the beach or “coast,” as he liked to call it. He loved to fish and later in life sit on the beach and listen to the waves. His children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren talk of all the times spent with him building sandcastles, playing in the surf, and walking the beach looking for sharks’ teeth and seashells.
During the last few years of his life, when it was difficult for Charles to express himself verbally, he never lost the ability to sing. He took every opportunity to sit around the piano and sing hymns and carols with his wife, children, and grandchildren. He even directed the music and sang the hymns for chapel services at the Veterans Home. And we know for certain, he is now singing with the heavenly hosts.
Thank you to all the friends and family who have supported Charles and Peggy through the many challenging years dealing with Alzheimer’s, especially Peggy’s brother, Jimmy and his wife, Linda, and Peggy’s dear friend, Ann. The family would also like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of the NC State Veterans Home in Salisbury for the great care and love shown to Charles during the short time he lived there, and especially for holding his hand when we couldn’t, as he passed into eternal life with Jesus.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be considered for the Building Fund at First Baptist Church, 412 N. Main Street, Mocksville, NC 27028; or the charity of your choice in his memory.
Online condolences: www.lambertfuneralhomenc.com
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