By Angela Higginbotham
Born and raised in Atlanta, Ga., Bill Walker has enjoyed living in the Mandarin community since 1981. He and his wife, Dodie, have been married for 52 years and have two sons and six grandchildren. A biology and chemistry major at Davidson College and Mercer University, Walker spent his career with Dow Chemical Company and Owens and Minor Medical Distributions until his retirement in 2005. Serving 32 years in the United States Army, Walker is a respected colonel, a former marathon runner and a beloved community volunteer. Walker fell in love with the Mandarin area after a co-worker took him for a drive down Mandarin Road all those years ago.
- What volunteer work do you engage in around the community?
I’ve been a past president and member of the Mandarin Rotary Club for 40 years and I’ve been a member of the Mandarin Community Club since 1981. I’m a new board member with the Community Club and I’ve enjoyed working with the art festival for the past 10 years. I also belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Military Officers Association (MOAA).
- When did you start your running career and how many races did you enter?
I started running when I was 41 years old and I retired from running at 71 years old. I ran 736 total races and 20 of those were marathons. The high point of my running career was qualifying and running in the Boston Marathon.
- What is your proudest accomplishment?
That’s a hard one, but I’m proud of being a Rotarian, both for what they do locally and around the world.
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I spend time with my wife and other family. We do like to travel. We spent a lot of time traveling around the world with the choir of Lakewood Presbyterian Church. I enjoy golf and gardening, and my wife and I enjoy collecting antiques.
- What has been your closest claim to fame?
I was running track in high school and a javelin was thrown nearby; it stabbed me in the back. The javelin wouldn’t fit in the ambulance, so they had to remove it first and then the ambulance got in a wreck on the way to the hospital. They put my jersey in the school showcase with the hole in it. My wife says that I’ve never done anything easy, gotta do it the hard way.
Photo courtesy Angela Higginbotham