Walker, Thomas J., 92, passed away peacefully at home September 11, 2013. Born in Butte, Montana to Hallie Boucher and Frank Comerford Walker, he was raised in New York City since age 5 and attended Loyola Academy. Tom was a 1942 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served as a Lieutenant in the US Navy for 3 ½ years. In 1943 he married Ruthanne (Dolly) Shelare. Tom and Dolly proudly celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on May 1st. In 1950 they moved to Scranton, PA where Tom ran Comerford Theaters, a family business, and then to Fort Lauderdale in 1957, where in partnership with R. H. Gore, Sr. he established Walker Insurance Associates which later became Fred S. James and Co. and Sedgwick, Ltd. - a career spanning 38 years. Mr. Walker was highly regarded by all who worked with him during his career. In 1966 he was appointed interim Sheriff of Broward County by Governor Burns, a position he held proudly. He was called "sheriff" for years by his buddies. Tom was a lifelong Democrat and quietly active on the local political scene having been influenced by his father's service as DNC treasurer and chairman, and U.S. postmaster general under the FDR administration. Locally he held directorships with Landmark Bank, Systems Engineering, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Authority, The Hundred Club, Port Everglades Association, and the Tower Club as a founding member. He served as chairman of the United Way of Broward County, president and chairman of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of the board of trustees of Holy Cross Hospital. Tom was an advisor to Joe Robbie and the Miami Dolphins and helped establish the "Annual Miami Dolphins Kickoff Breakfast". He was a member of the Notre Dame Club of Fort Lauderdale and devoted supporter of the University. For many years the Walkers were parishioners of St. Anthony's Catholic Church. Tom was predeceased by his parents, sister Laura Jenkins, and grandson Christopher Walker. He is survived by his loving wife, Dolly and 5 children, Hallie Batchelder, Frank C. Walker, Barbara (Tom) Tight, Shelley Walker and TJ (Terry) Walker; 10 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren. Mr. Walker held much love for his personal caretaker Karen Warner and part time caretakers whose devoted service is treasured by his family. Our dear Husband/Dad/Pa/Great Grandpa/Uncle/Friend, we love you and will miss you dearly. Go Irish! The family will receive friends at the funeral home Monday, September 16, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. A Memorial Mass will take place at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 4595 Bayview Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308, on Tuesday, September 17, at 10:00am, followed by private burial. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Heartland Hospice of Broward County, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, or Holy Cross Hospital. Arrangements entrusted to Kraeer-Fairchild Funeral Home, 4061 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308, (954) 565-5591, www.kraeerfairchild.com.
Published in Sun-Sentinel from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, 2013