Ross Walker

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Ross Gray Walker, Jr. was born to Ross and Fern Smith Walker on November 15, 1927, in Fairfield, Iowa at the former Jefferson County Hospital (now Prestige Care Center), where he passed away on Monday, June 24, 2024, surrounded by family.

He graduated from Fairfield High School, attended Parsons College, and Iowa State College (ISU) where he studied mechanical engineering. When his father announced plans to retire, Ross decided to return home and manage the family businesses, Tribune Printing Company, then the oldest business in Jefferson County, dating from 1847, and a fledgling Walker’s Office Supplies.

A mutual friend arranged a blind date with Ross and a Parsons gal, saying that he had a new Oldsmobile 98 convertible, to which she replied “Well, he can’t be all bad!” That encounter with Lorraine resulted in a 72-year marriage, and the birth of their son Randall Ross.

In the ensuing decades, Ross also designed and built the Sunshine Center Laundromat and the Best Western Fairfield Inn. He was a past member of the Fairfield Planning & Zoning Commission, a director emeritus of the Fairfield Economic Development Association (on the board from 1985 to 2008), and past chair of the Fairfield Adjustment Board. He also received an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award at an annual Chamber banquet. Upon retiring, he had been at the helm of Walker’s Office Supplies for 62 years.

Aside from business, he was a talented golfer, having his first lesson at age 5, and shot under par when in the eighth grade. Throughout the years, he won club and city tournaments. Highlights included playing the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, and Pebble Beach in California.

Ross’ love of flying took him to new heights (pun intended)! In October 1968, he and four other pilots and passengers in single-engine planes, island-hopped from Florida to several Bahama Islands. It was a once in a lifetime experience for twenty adventurous souls! The trip involved 750 miles over water and thirty hours in the air.

Downhill skiing was another sport Ross enjoyed. He was a natural handyman, spending countless hours in his well-equipped shop. In his earlier years, Ross was a skilled hobby and sometimes wedding photographer. Collector cars were also a passion. The Walkers enjoyed many travels in the US and abroad.

Ross was a member of the First United Methodist Church and a 75-year Elks member. Survivors include his wife, Lorraine and son, Randy. He was preceded in death by half-brother, Raymond E. Walker in 1981. The family will be honoring Ross’ wishes by having a private family burial.

Memorials may be directed to Noah’s Ark Animal Foundation, Carnegie Historical Museum, or the Fairfield Evergreen Cemetery Endowment Fund. For the latter, checks can be sent to the fund at 510 East Stone Ave. in Fairfield. Online condolences will be welcomed at www.behnerfh.com.

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