Ronald D. Walker, Salesman Extraordinaire, 81, died Friday, June 26, 2020 at his home in Parkville, Maryland following a short battle with metastatic kidney cancer.
He leaves his wife of 62 years, Elsie Walker; son, Victor Walker, grandchildren through Vic are Jackie and Natalie; daughter, Julie (Walker) Fitzgerald, Thomas Fitzgerald (her husband), grandchildren through Julie are Brendan, Caitlin, Liam, and Evan Fitzgerald; brother of Ronald Walker (only sibling), Larry Bruce Walker, and Alice Walker (his wife); and many close friends. Ron was the son of Dennis Christian Walker, deceased (born Kings Mountain, NC) and Gladys Lorraine Moorehead, deceased (born Imler, PA), and he was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania on September 18, 1938. He retired from 35 years of selling real estate in June 2013. He resided at 2522 East Joppa Road, Baltimore, MD 21234 since June 1980. Served active duty U.S. Marine Corps Sept 1956 to Sept 1959.
His formal education included: Brooklyn Park High School, graduating class of 1956 (Voted Best Athlete) University of Baltimore, BS Marketing Degree, June 11, 1970 University of Baltimore, Bachelor Liberal Arts Degree, August 1980 The American College, CLU degree, October 11, 1983
A private family gathering was held the evening of Ron’s passing at his home and following Ron’s cremation, a small gathering will be scheduled.
Before Ron’s passing, he wrote the following narrative as an aid for the preparation of his obituary notice and funeral service: (This is Ron speaking) “I was born in Pennsylvania and from ages one to three my mother, father and myself lived on my grandfather’s 220-acre farm. It was a large household of about eleven family members, plus a constant flow of friends and relatives—I was the only grandchild in this large household and boy did I get lots of attention—it was a fantastic life. These were my personality’s foundation years. I mention this now because it has a lot to do with the rest of my life. I especially loved my friendly quiet grandfather (who was a widower), and in various degrees I loved and respected all of the other members of the household. With all of the attention I was receiving by everyone I didn’t really bond too closely with my parents—I was just a little kid who thought that upon growing up I would eventually work with my grandfather, whom I followed around the farm as much as I was allowed.
As I was about to turn three years old my mother and her oldest sister had a disagreement and my parent’s and I moved into a little two-room house about 3 or 4 miles away from the farm. It was so small we had to share an outside bathroom with several neighbors. I was emotionally devastated. Now, this story could go on and on, but my point is that each of you sitting there had your own early childhood foundation years. While 2-month old babies look and act alike—compare them to a room full of three-year old’s! Those older kids have experienced a lot of life by that time. My purpose in beginning with my farm story is to better explain my actions and decisions concerning events later in my life—when a part of my foundation personality was always unconsciously looking backward.
My parents and I moved to Baltimore a couple of months before I began first grade, and we returned to my grandfather’s farm for visits three to seven days each summer. I disliked city life, I put up with school, and lived for those brief visits to the farm. Although I was later asked if I wanted to visit the farm longer without my parents, I always declined because a part of me wondered if they really wanted my presence, since they didn’t come to my rescue before [Of course now I understand what happened, but I am speaking about my early youth]
Moving ahead. I met Elsie when I was in the ninth grade and she was in the eighth grade. She saw me on the basketball court during a game against another school. I was also voted most bashful in my school (actually, I was just quiet like my grandfather) but on the sports field I could release my pent-up anger against life by attacking the opposing team. I knew a number of girls, but when I found out that Elsie was born a mere fifteen miles from my grandfather’s farm, she became the only girl for me—I admit I never considered having anyone else for a wife.
After high school I had no ambition to go to college, nor was there any employment careers that I cared about so I joined the Marines, hoping I would learn a trade.
Elsie and I were married while I was in the Marines and our son, Vic, was born at my Marine base at Cherry Point, North Carolina. After three years in the Marines, I knew I was no John Wayne, so we returned to Baltimore and I took a job as a typist in a title insurance company. After a couple of weeks, I knew I needed a part time job to help pay the bills. I answered a part-time ad where I was cleverly pressured into accepting an in-home sales job—selling cookware—and I paid the interviewer a small bonding fee. The next night I returned to get my money back and the manager cleverly talked me into going out for one nights training—and I ended up in sales jobs for the next 54 years.
I was uncomfortable with the selling part of the job, but I loved the sales meetings and training classes. The meetings and training classes were filled with positive words of inspiration about moving ahead in life—it was like I was a small child living back on the farm where everyone was happy and optimistic. After one year I began selling cookware full time.
Looking back on those early sales years, I was fortunate to have been under the influence of some great sales managers. As the years passed and these managers were promoted into other cities, my enthusiasm began to wane so I began college on my 26th birthday—I began college for the same reason I had joined the Marines—hoping to stumble upon some permanent occupation that interested me.
I attended college full time for three years while selling cookware (mostly studying by recording my classroom notes onto my battery cassette tape player and listening to my notes when driving from house to house).
When Alcoa offered me a corporate job selling to retail stores in the Midwest we sold our 2nd home in Glen Burnie and moved to St. Louis. My territory there included four states, but after a year I began experiencing physical problems so after the 2nd year we had to return to Baltimore for me to finish my 4th year of college and get my degree—not knowing how bad my physical condition might get.
Over the next several years, I earned two college degrees with over 170 college credits. During this time, I was again selling cookware in homes.
In 1976 I began selling insurance with a previous co-worker from the cookware business. This job was a step up from selling cookware, but several steps lower when it came to inspiration and excitement. After a few years I earned my CLU degree for insurance.
In 1978 I entered Towson University part-time and received a real estate license—just to purchase another house for my family and save the commission—definitely not to sell homes to others!
A few months later an insurance client of mine, to whom I had mentioned I was getting a real estate license, asked me to find him a home. He had purchased about six or seven; life, homeowners, auto, and mutual fund policies from me, so I felt obligated to assist him. To make a long story short, he was happier with the little townhouse I sold him than he was with any of his earlier insurance purchases—I felt like I was back selling cookware again with its happiness and enthusiasm.
To summarize my work life, after being moved away from the farm, I have always had trouble bonding with non-farm people. That is why I was also awarded,” most bashful” in high school, and why I was successful selling cookware, insurance and real estate, where after the initial sale was made there were few if any follow-up visits. It is not that I did not like others—my personality was weak when it came to closely attaching myself to others. I was closely attached to Elsie because she filled many of the lost ingredients of my youth.
With all my education I had no special goals for gathering wealth. The life I lived on my grandfather’s farm was gone—and while this is illogical thinking—it is how I unconsciously conducted my life. Having been the farm’s youngest representative, I have always attempted to conduct myself properly and win various awards that a deep part of me knew was founded in my continued representing my farm.
From the moment I began selling real estate full time, I never once considered opening my own real estate office, or becoming a yearly “ten million dollar plus” producer, whom everyone would know through a multitude of advertisements or other sales promotions. I loved selling real estate, but in my own quiet way. I had found my career, my occupation, away from the farm. I was independent like a farmer, I had a territory of sorts to produce sales, I could pat myself on the back when I did well and kick myself in the butt when I did poorly. If I didn’t like someone, I didn’t have to make return calls on them every week, or every month—like selling to businesses. I seldom ran any ads with my picture, nor did I ever have my picture on a “for sale” sign, not wanting to see myself as a Baltimore businessman, but I did the best job I could with those who chose to work with me. I was not always successful with my clients, but I never intentionally shirked my responsibilities in representing any of them. Actually, after my first ten years of selling real estate, most of my later sales came as a result of referrals from my earlier customers.
Before I say a few words about my family I need to lay a little groundwork. I had two wonderful parents who loved me and cared for me the best they could. Unfortunately, I was as much bonded to my lost life on the farm as I was to their influence over me. We seldom ever had arguments; we respected each other’s lives and most of my parental training came by watching their actions, rather than communication through words.
Right or wrong, that’s how I raised my children. Throughout my life, I found it easier to speak to complete strangers about life, love, and happiness than my own children, whom I deeply loved and cherished. Frankly, I knew that I had some personality problems stemming from my early youth, and I didn’t want to inflict any of my problems on them. While they were growing up, we made brief family visits to my grandfather’s farm, but I never discussed the depth of my love for it or its effect on my life and personality.
Elsie and I married young and we tried to teach our children about growing up—as best as children teaching children could do. We were strong in some areas and weak in others, but we’re proud of Vic and Julie and overjoyed for the parts we were allowed to play in the lives of our grandchildren, Brendan, Caitlin, Jackie, Natalie, Liam, and Evan.
I wish I had more time to speak about each of my children and grandchildren. Perhaps the best thing I can do is remind them that while we are all genetically related, we are all individuals. While I have been speaking about my personality foundation, I was really speaking about how each of you have your own personality foundations that unconsciously guide you through your daily lives. You can study your early life and learn to understand yourself a little better. You can’t change anything that has happened, but you can tread carefully around your weak spots and take advantage of your strong points.
With all of my problems I represented the University of Baltimore’s Business Class in New York City for a week, I was 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd highest college cookware salesman in the United States of about 2,000 salesman, and later I was one of the top real estate salesmen in Baltimore—your father, your grandfather. I worked hard to win these awards because I had children and grandchildren who looked to me as an example for adulthood—a role I enjoyed and that I pray will continue down through your generations.
Speaking of generations, my tendency to look back at the past made me an avid genealogist. I was never as interested in my ancestor’s names and dates as much as I was interested in what I could discover about their daily lives. We think we’re modern people, you are sitting there—and me laying up here. But our ancestors 100 to 500 years ago each thought they were living in a modern world too. When your descendants look back on your lives 100 years from now, what notes, or memories will they discover about you?
I have a great love and respect for all of the religions in the world, and while I’ve written about my losing the farm and its effect on my life, I have truly had a good life, and next to the love of my family members and friends, I’ve loved Nature, and thoughts about Nature. The trillions of atoms in my body and my mind are a part of Nature.
I liked to look up at the stars a night, I have old rocks and fossils in my home office that I liked to look at and touch, knowing they were formed or lived millions of years ago—when my body’s current atoms were scattered all around the globe.
I don’t know what occurs after death, but I’m anxious to find out, whether it be a grand and glorious eternity somewhere, or a simple spreading of my atoms back into the earth. In millions of years from now I expect I’ll be spread around the globe again—in a little piece of this, and in a little piece of that.
I thank God for permitting my atoms to form a human consciousness. I’ve had my mental problems like everyone else, but as I mentioned, I’ve had a good life.”
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