Johnnie C. Walker, Jr. (Junior), 83, died in his sleep on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, from complications with bladder cancer in his hometown of 58 years, Seattle, WA.
Johnnie was born February 06, 1937, in Corpus Christi, TX, to Johnnie C. and Nanny Lee (née Morgan) Walker. He had a humble childhood as an only child but was surrounded by a supportive family network. Junior attended college at Prairie View A&M College of Texas in Prairie View, TX. He took part in college sports (football, track, and basketball) for less than two years and could have been a formidable force standing at 6' 7". Instead of pursuing athletics, Johnnie opted to focus on academics.
When he transitioned into the discipline of Engineering, he was awakened. In this new scholastic "arena," he was introduced to the world of physical sciences that included physics, mathematics, and geometry. He embraced these disciplines with vigor and ultimately received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Johnnie admitted later, as a parent, that his heart was not fond of the traditional athletic route followed by many successful African American males. His risky decision to bypass the familiar path was an epiphany, and he "had a lot of catching up to do."
After graduating from Prairie View, Johnnie joined the workforce at The Boeing Company (Seattle, WA) in 1962, as Boeing was actively recruiting African Americans to develop its image toward ethnic diversity. As financial stability was earned by Johnnie, in 1963, he and wife Robbie, whom he met at Prairie View College, started a family with son Jonathan and made a second addition in 1965, with Kevin. This "American Dream" came to an unceremonious halt when Boeing laid off workers in the infamous "lights out" exodus in Seattle in 1970.
Junior's modest childhood prepared him for this employment setback as he made several personal sacrifices with the practical use of food stamps. The family never missed the bountiful celebration of a Holiday. More critical, Johnnie relentlessly applied for alternative employment with the help of the expository skills of his gifted wife. Johnnie landed an engineering job with King County Administration, Traffic and Planning, in Seattle, WA. He worked for King County for 37 years, until his retirement in 2008, after rising the ranks from a road survey engineer to a computer programmer for large-scale analysis of road data.
During his time at King County, Johnnie and his schoolteacher wife, Robbie, sent both of their sons to college, where the older son, Jon received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer programming, and the younger son, Kevin, received a Doctorate in Chemistry and Biochemistry and works as a professor. While Robbie gave her sons an appreciation for reading classical literature and writing, Junior had the traits of a Renaissance Man, who taught his sons physics, how to draw free-body diagrams, math, computer programming, chess, abacus and slide ruler applications, woodwork and carpentry, auto repair, fishing, electrical circuitry, responsible artillery, sewing, golf, tennis, and general curiosity. Also, he cooked most of the family dinners and made his sons' lunches throughout their elementary school, while his wife was honing her award-winning teaching craft and learning French.
He is survived by his beloved partner, Ms. Sue Haynes, son, Kevin D. Walker (his partner and her daughter), and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is preceded in death by his wife Robbie (2004), and his son Jonathan (2019).
Johnnie requested cremation by American Funeral Home, Renton, WA. His ashes will be interred next to the full-body grave of his beloved wife, Robbie, at Olivet Cemetery, Renton, WA. Junior requested that the celebration of his life occur without fanfare or ceremony as he understood the reality of death after the recent unexpected passing of his eldest son.
Contributions in memory of Johnnie C. Walker, Jr. may be made to the United Negro College Fund (https://secure2.convio.net/uncf/site/SPageNavigator/2016Donate.html?_ga=2.103258560.1930883863.1589815448-906128029.1589815448).
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