Mary Grace (Baird) Walker passed away on Monday, April 24, 2023. A Celebration of Life will be held at Christ By The Sea, United Methodist Church in Vero Beach on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. Born on January 15, 1931, she is survived by her daughters and sons: Mary Alyce (Randall) Boyd, Alan (Jacqueline) Walker, Audrey (Dave) Delaune, Arthur (Catherine) Walker, and son-in-law Gregg Toland; grandchildren: David Boyd, Cherill Crudup, Valerie Vail, Amanda Badal, Scott Toland, Kyle Delaune, Cody Delaune, and Mary Laurel Walker; 15 great-grandchildren; and many more nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Mary Walker is preceded in death by Willis Walker, and her children, William Walker, and Andrea Toland. Mary Walker requested donations be made to Christ By The Sea, United Methodist Church in Vero Beach.
The following is Mary Walker’s autobiography:
In the depression year of 1931, I was born on the Baird Anchor Farm. Into a family of rousing boys. Being an only girl and much younger I become the family mascot. My growing up years consisted of “following the boys’ footsteps. But to keep up with them was like living on the edge; a wild ride that never quite ended. I followed them to East Center (one-room) school where I was the only student in my class all 8 years. Then on to Bethany High School where I graduated in 1949 with 18 other students. The family tradition was onto Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. My senior year I transferred to and graduated from the University of Illinois. At Christmas time I married Willis Walker, who was in the Navy stationed in Key West. After graduation, we began our life together in a house that had been featured in the movie, “Beneath the 12 Mile Reef”.
I taught 3 grades. After the Navy, Willis went to the Boston School of Theology, and I was a Dietician at Deaconess Hospital. Later he was given a Student Charge in Maine. Mary Alyce 1955, and Alan Deforest 1957, were born there. Willis’ first charge was Ft. Dodge, Iowa. Andrea was born there in 1959.
Then on to St. Louis where I was a Dietician at St. Luke’s Hospital. We watched the archway to the west being built. in Hillsboro, Illinois we both taught school. Willis had received his Master’s in music, and I taught Jr. High Home Economics. Audrey was born in 1967. There was one year in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and then onto Spring Grove where Willis had a 3-point charge. These were good years. At one point I taught second grade. Arthur was born in 1970.
Willis’ last charge was Lockport Illinois. It was a large church and a good appointment. I worked as Food Manager at St. Patrick’s Retirement Home in Joliet, Illinois. Willis passed away in 1977. I moved from the parsonage to Oak Lawn, Illinois, and was a Dietician at Christ Hospital.
In 1984, I realized my dream of returning to Florida. I moved with two teenagers, two Dalmatians, one cat, a case of shingles, and no job. My first job was at Lawnwood Hospital, in Ft. Pierce. Soon afterward a friend and I opened the Silver Trivet Restaurant in the Miracle Mile in Vero Beach and enjoyed six years of success. We sold the restaurant, and I spent summers cooking at a fish camp in Alaska. This was so much fun. I spent 6 summers cooking on a Windjammer in Maine.
I ended my working years as a CNA in Vero Beach. In 2007 I realized my patients were much younger than I was, and it was time to retire.
I’ve done a fair amount of traveling and even taught English for 6 weeks in Beijing,
An avid sewer I had a booth at several farmer’s markets and festivals with my wares. Between times I have written poetry and composed songs. My love of music shows in my involvement in the praise band and choir at church.
I have enjoyed many years of good health and happiness.