Joel H. Walker, 80, of Troy passed away July 22, 2020.
Walker was born September 5, 1939 and was the son of Elizabeth and E.E. Walker.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Nancy Peacock Walker; daughter, Susan Walker Hemm; son, Michael (Annalee) Walker; and grandchildren: Cassidy and Kate Hemm, Lena and Charlie Walker Sister Jane and Ray Hoover.
A native of West Milton and a graduate of Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), Joel Walker came to Troy in 1961 as a young writer for the Troy Daily News. He began his career at the TDN as a sports reporter and over the years worked his way through all areas of the newsroom—-covering city news, county news, courts, business, arts/lifestyles and many feature topics. He was responsible for launching the Miami Valley Sunday News—-the first local Sunday newspaper for Troy/Miami County. Over time, Joel was promoted to editor and publisher, and eventually became co-owner of TDN—-and then led the sale process of the paper to Pulitzer Newspapers and retired in 1998.
While Mr. Walker held leadership positions on professional news organizations boards such as President of the Ohio UPI Editors Association, his career also included many leadership positions in local community organizations. He was on the local hospital boards as a member (and chairman) for 35 years—first Stouder Memorial Hospital and then Upper Valley Medical Center. He served 12 years on the Edison Community College Foundation Board and chaired the annual Holiday Event. Other community involvement included boards of Troy Area Chamber of Commerce, RT Industries, Miami Shores Golf Club, Troy Country Club, and First United Methodist Church.
Frequently a “behind the scenes” supporter of several community initiatives, Mr. Walker helped the late Joe Reardon to organize and launch the program (including mobile stage) to have downtown musical concerts/arts programs in Troy in the 1970s, which continue to this day. Over 2 decades ago he was instrumental in helping El Sombrero begin their free Thanksgiving meal. Mr. Walker organized and coached the first golf team at Edison Community College in the 1980’s. He was also a high school official at area basketball games during that time.
In retirement, a significant accomplishment was the creation (in 1996) and continuing leadership of the Troy Hall of Fame. Established to honor outstanding citizens of Troy who excelled in chosen fields and have had significant impact on the community, Mr. Walker was inducted in 2014 as a member of the Hall of Fame. Mr. and Mrs. Walker received the Troy Are Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizens award in 2014. Mr. Walker was dedicated to spending time with his grandchildren while watching them grow and succeed in each of their own ways.
The family will be having a private Celebration of Life ceremony. In lieu of flowers donations to Hospice of Miami County, PO Box 502, Troy, OH 45373 or to The First United Methodist Church, 110 West Franklin Street, Troy, OH 45373.