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Rev. Claude R. Walker, 91, Seaford resident and former pastor at James River Baptist Church in Williamsburg, died Sunday, November 22, 2015.
An accomplished pastor for almost 45 years, those he mentored during his career will unite Saturday to celebrate the man who was intricate in developing their own callings to serve within the Baptist church.
Philip Y. Spears, senior pastor at Stedman Baptist Church, Stedman, N.C., will be speaking about the man who took him under his wing and guided him as a young man fresh out of seminary school. Spears became an associate pastor under Walker’s tutelage at Englewood Baptist Church, Rocky Mount, N.C., in 1975.
“He loved people, the Scriptures and preaching the Scriptures. That is what made him an effective minister,” Spears said.
Spears will be highlighting some of the humorous and rather inopportune moments the two shared while working on their ministry. One of his stories describes a time when he, Walker and two other pastors were driving in an unfamiliar area, got lost and aimed to reroute themselves.
“His car was known for malfunctioning. It would just cut off as you were driving. As we were turning around in a parking lot, it cuts off, and we can’t get it started. There we were; four pastors sitting in the parking lot of an exotic dancers’ club. We finally got the car cranked, and we got out of there,” Spears joked.
Walker became a pastor after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
“He got saved later in life, after serving in the Navy. He was 29, and it was in a bakery shop. I think a lot of guys that do that later in life make up for lost time,”said Sr. Pastor Shannon Scott of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C.
Scott was 14 years old when he met Walker. His parents would take him to see Walker preach at Hopkins Baptist Church in Zebulon, N.C. He describes him as a man “who was one of the few Bible-believing men in the area. He was gutsy, strong in his commitment. Not many preachers were back then.”
Walker had an opportunity to be of guidance to Scott a few years later when he came aboard as an associate pastor at Englewood Baptist Church.
“Claude Walker was like a dad to me. It is one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to speak at his service,” Scott said.
Mr. Walker is survived by his wife of 68 years, Ruby C. Walker; a daughter, Terri Blanton; a son, Mark A. Walker; and two grandchildren, Evan and Katie Blanton.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at James River Baptist Church, Williamsburg, where Walker served as pastor from 1976-1982.
Read Claude Walker’s full obituary.