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Jim Walker's Online Memorial Photo

Memorial Curator

Memorial Biography

Jim Walker died peacefully at the Rose Monahan Hospice on Oct. 9th in Worcester, MA at the age of 78. Jim was born on July 22nd, 1937 in Minneapolis MN to James Sr. and Margaret (Glimsdale) Walker. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in physics from the University of Minnesota. He was married to his loving wife, Elaine (Paulson) for 56 years. After moving to Amherst in 1968, Jim began working at the University of Massachusetts as a Professor of Physics. Jim dedicated himself to raising his family, and to teaching, research and mentoring. During his last years at the University, Jim served as acting Dean of the Graduate School. Jim is survived by his wife; Elaine, and two children; Steve and his wife Jaime (Stein) of Chapel Hill, NC and Anita Smith and her husband Robert of Fort Collins, CO. He also leaves six grandchildren; Maggie, Jessie, Meghan, Brandon, Alex and Tommy. He is preceded in death by his son Ted. Jim was an accomplished and dedicated musician and performer. He played the trombone in the Heritage Pops Orchestra, the Horse Mountain Jazz Band and the Amherst Community Band which he also helped found. He sang tenor in the Newman Center church choir and in the Valley Light Opera (VLO). Jim was a mainstay of the VLO since 1980. He played many roles, from business manager, producer, actor and orchestra member, to set crew. Jim was a unique soul. He was always willing to serve others ahead of himself and treasured the many meaningful relationships he formed in the Amherst community. The family would like to thank the cardiologists at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital for their extraordinary care and dedication. Funeral services will be at 10AM on Saturday October 17th at the UMass Newman Center Chapel. Visiting hours will be Friday October 16th from 4-7 PM, also at the Newman Center Chapel. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Jim’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation at www.myotonic.org/donate, or the Valley Light Opera at www.VLO.org.