1927 – 2019
James Wesley Walker (92) was born April 27, 1927, to Phillip Chester and Mary Ella (Moore) Walker in Stanberry, Missouri, as one of four boys and two girls. He passed away May 26, 2019.
While growing up, Wesley worked primarily in farming to help his struggling family. He eventually moved to Concord, California, where he found work with the California Water Company. In 1949 Wesley was drafted into the Army and registered as non-combatant, choosing to go into the medical core. After basic and medical training, he was sent overseas to Trieste, Italy, where he worked in a medical clinic for three months. He later served in the Army Reserve.
All his life, Wesley took his spiritual life seriously. He went to church, hardly ever missing a Sabbath — even while in the Army. The first time he went home on leave while in the Reserve, he met Darlene Poff at the Stanberry church. They were married December 26, 1951.
The couple returned to Concord to live and start their family: daughters Orene and Chrisann, and son Gilbert. Chrisann lived only two days.
At the 1951 General Conference Convention at Red Rocks in Colorado, months before he married, Wesley was asked to give a talk to the young people attending. At that event he couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that God was calling him into ministry.
Wanting his family to be closer to the church, Wesley quit his job and moved them to Sacramento, California. He soon became active in the church as one of the local elders. Elder Israel Haeger worked with Wesley, using him to fill the pulpit when he was gone. As district overseer, Elder Haeger sent Wesley to various churches in the area to speak when there was a need. With his wife’s approval to enter full-time ministry, he applied for and received his ministerial license. Over the years the Walkers pastored churches in Lodi and Stockton, California; Tacoma, Washington; Eureka, South Dakota; and Fort Smith, Arkansas.
In 1969 Wesley was elected to the General Conference board of directors and served on it for eighteen years. Since “retiring” from eighteen years of pastoring at Fort Smith, he helped out at various churches in Wister, Shawnee, and Claremore, Oklahoma. In 1999, at age 72, Wesley began pastoring at the McAlester, Oklahoma church, driving 95 miles one way. He retired in December 2018, and in January 2019, began preaching at the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Kibler, Arkansas.
Wesley is preceded in death by his parents, one daughter, four brothers, one sister, and one grandson. He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, and other family members.