Julian H. Walker

August 22, 1911 ‒ February 13, 2009

Marion, Ohio

Julian H. “Jay” Walker, age 97, of Marion, died suddenly and unexpectedly Friday evening, February 13, 2009 in an automobile accident.

Jay was born on August 22, 1911 in Lancaster, Ohio, the son of the late Henry and Julia (Merrick) Walker. In 1921, his father moved their family to Marion, Ohio to re-locate The Fairfield Engineering Company.

After graduating from Harding High School, Jay achieved his B.A. in business from the Ohio Wesleyan University where he worked his way through college waiting and busing tables and delivering sandwiches to the dorms after hours. As a senior, he sneaked into a freshmen mixer and met Melba Gaylor who was to become his wife for the next 53 years. Together they lovingly raised two children, with numerous family camping trips highlighting their lives together.

Graduating during the Great Depression, he hitch-hiked all the way to California to seek employment with a company managed by a college friend’s family. There was no work when he got there, and his first job was a dairy route in Schenectady, New York. Jay joined The Fairfield Engineering Company in 1936 and became President in 1957 expanding it to a multimillion dollar corporation with over 400 employees. He knew everyone, and he had a knack for identifying talented people whom he saw had capabilities well beyond their current achievements. With his support, they would reach their potential. In 1985, he handed the business down to his son, Jay Walker, continuing to work as Chairman of the business and giving his all to Fairfield Engineering until they closed in 2004.

A stalwart supporter of the Marion community, Jay liked to focus on efforts that would provide lasting value. In 1975, The Palace Theatre had been marked for demolition. Jay assigned one of his senior executives at Fairfield Engineering to the “Palace Guard” with instructions to spend whatever time it took to save the theatre. The “Guard” was successful and the landmark Palace is now a marvelous contributor to the Marion community. Thirty-three years after the Guard was formed, Jay proudly watched every performance of his grandson, Eric Julian Walker, in one of the leading roles of 42nd Street.

Jay was also an active supporter of the Harding Council of the Boy Scouts of America, recognizing the training and values that organization bestowed upon young men. It was a joy for him to observe his grandson, James Walker, achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

Jay helped develop the Marion Economic Council, which taught elementary and middle school students simple concepts about business enterprises and money management. He was active in helping initiate and develop the Tri-Rivers Career Center. For many years he was a member of the YMCA board and Kiwanis. Never wanting any attention for himself, Jay always worked behind the scenes to help organizations by providing funding, recruiting strong individuals, and supporting them with personal effort and ideas for the organization.

A man of faith, Jay was a dedicated worshipper and member of the Epworth United Methodist Church.

Jay loved to play chess, appreciating that every game was a new challenge, each opponent was worthy, and the camaraderie exceeded everything else. At 97, he could still muster a winning game.

Jay may be best known throughout the Marion community for his love of walking. He often chose to walk a few miles from his home into town, rather than driving, and did this until the day he died. People would recognize him and his red coat. He also enjoyed working outside caring for his yard.

With a deep sense of respect and gratitude towards nature, Jay loved fly fishing for trout throughout Canada and the United States, rarely keeping his catch.

A man of strong principles, Jay always made time for people and could see the good in everyone. He would take the time to share these perspectives with his children, making him the consummate teacher.

Jay was always there for his family and will be dearly missed by his two sons and daughters-in-law: David & Ellen Walker of Pataskala, and Jay & Gail Walker of Marion; two grandsons: James Walker who is attending Otterbein College, and Eric JulianWalker who is attending Wright State University; a brother, Henry “Hank” (Joan) Walker of Ann Arbor, Michigan; a sister, Rosalind Wheeler of California; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends.

Including his wife and parents, Jay was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Walker; and two sisters: Harriet Walker and Miriam DeSylva.

The Walker family will greet friends from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Friday, February 20th, at the Denzer-Farison-Hottinger & Snyder Funeral Home. A service honoring his life will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Epworth United Methodist Church. Following the service, the family will great friends at Jay’s home. A private burial will take place at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Trout Unlimited, 1300 N. 17th St., Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22209-3801 (www.tu.org); The Palace Theatre Endowment Fund, 276 W. Center St., Marion, OH 43302 ; The Boy Scouts of America, Harding District, P.O. Box 368, Ashland, OH 44805; or Heifer Foundation, 1015 Louisiana St., P.O. Box 727, Little Rock, AK 72203 (www.heifer.org).

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.