Ivan Gerald Walker, 84, a long-time resident of Chatham Township, New Jersey, died on May 26, 2019 after a brief stay at Morristown Medical Center. He had been treated for multiple myeloma cancer for more than 12 years.
Born in Waverly, Virginia, Mr. Walker was a 1959 graduate of Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and played shortstop on the baseball team.
Following graduation, he was drafted and served two years at the Army Chemical Center in Maryland where, in addition to his army assignment, he continued to play baseball for the post team. His high batting average translated into the opportunity (which he declined) to join the newly-formed New York Mets.
Mr. Walker worked his entire 36-year career for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York City. He joined the company’s officer training program in 1962 and retired as Vice President of International Operations in 1998. As a human resources executive, he traveled extensively to Spain, Mexico, and Asia. In the 1980s, he was appointed to The Conference Board, (a national consortium of business executives) and in this capacity he served as Chairman of the Council on Compensation.
Mr. Walker had a long history of active public service. During New York City’s mid-1970s fiscal crisis, he was appointed by Mayor Ed Beame to a task force seeking solutions to the city’s financial problems. He later was appointed by Mayor Ed Koch to several commissions studying the city government’s salaries and organization issues.
On the national level, during the Carter administration, Mr. Walker advised the U.S. Civil Service Commission on the development of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and also assisted the U.S. Veterans Administration in the implementation of that legislation. In the 1980s during the Reagan administration, Mr. Walker served several years on the Presidential Commission on Executive, Legislative and Judicial Salaries initially chaired by the United States Senator from New Jersey Nicholas Brady.
During the years when his children were in school, Mr. Walker took an active interest in public education, serving for six years on the Chatham Township Board of Education followed by five years on the regionalized School District of the Chathams Board of Education. He also served on several Chatham Township municipal committees.
Mr. Walker was an Elder and active member of the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township (where he was married in 1962) as well as a member of the Board of the Friends of the Library of the Chathams and also was a member of the Chatham Township Historical Society. He had a keen interest in family history as well as American history. He had a life-long love of baseball and enjoyed coaching Little League baseball as well as youth soccer. Family vacations were most often spent on the North Carolina Outer Banks where he especially enjoyed surf fishing.
Mr. Walker was the son of Hugh Francis Walker and Rhea McKesson Walker and was predeceased by four siblings. He is survived by his wife of 56 years Sarah (Sally) Bassett Walker, son Robert Walker and his wife Jennifer Sorensen, daughter Laura Walker, and several nephews.
The family requests memorial donations to the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township, 240 Southern Blvd., Chatham, NJ 07928 or to the charity of one’s choice.
A memorial service was held on June 8, 2019 at the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township.