**This obituary was lovingly written and submitted by the family**
Early morning of June 21, 2021, Sara Jane Walker succumbed to complications of dementia and went to be with her Lord and see again her beloved husband of more than 63 years, Leslie Lee Walker Sr. She is survived by the families of her three children, Leslie Jr and Mary Walker, Chriss and Lynda Knisley, and Roger and Nancy Walker. There are 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. She was 87 years old.
Born Sara Jane Jones to William and Sara Jones in Columbia, Tennessee, on July 29, 1933, she and Leslie Sr. were friends in grade school and high school sweethearts. She graduated in the class of 1951 from Columbia Central High School and then studied nursing briefly at Vanderbilt University. After marrying on September 13, 1952, Leslie and Sara were rarely separated for long. Despite there being no facilities for dependents, Sara made her first trip out of the United States to be with Leslie during his first U.S. Army deployment in Salzburg, Austria. That was also where their first child, Leslie Jr, was born. Assignments in Massachusetts; Arlington, Virginia; and Fort Meade, Maryland, followed, along with the births of Lynda and Roger.
After the family settled in Laurel, Maryland, she started working again as a bookkeeper, working for several large business over the years. She was a working mother before it was generally accepted and always strove to balance family and work before that was a recognized issue. Her support was an essential part of Leslie Sr.’s exemplary career in government service.
Sara was active in the Laurel community in many ways. While she and Leslie participated in community organizations together, as with the Laurel Jaycees, she was often the one that started the involvement.
She was the first of the family to volunteer with the Laurel Rescue Squad, becoming an observer in the Air Wing, flying many times as part of fire watches and searches. She was the first of the family to become a part of the then newly formed Tabernacle. She and Leslie became foundational members, Sara working as part of the administration and Leslie as part of facilities maintenance after he retired. She served as a Deacon and was a member of the Board of Trustees as leadership for the church. Sara particularly enjoyed hosting Tabernacle guests in her home when they came from out of town for Tabernacle events.
Travel was always an enjoyment for Sara, especially when Leslie Sr. was along. She took advantage of her stay in Austria to visit several exotic places, including Paris and Casa Blanca. She sometimes accompanied Leslie on trips for work to places like the United Kingdom. After Leslie’s retirement from government service, they took several cruises to places like the Caribbean, Alaska, and Hawaii. One of her last trips before Leslie Sr. was no longer able to travel was to see Salzburg, Austria for the first time since leaving in 1955.
As Leslie Sr. began to feel the ravages of Alzheimer’s, Sara made caring for him the focus of her life. She even began handling the driving chores, though Leslie Sr. was not approving of her more spirited driving style. When Leslie could no longer live at home, she and the family dog moved with him to Brighton Gardens Assisted Living so she could be with him.
Sara will be greatly missed, as a mother, grandmother, professional, and a caring, vibrant part of the community. A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, July 10th at the Donaldson Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation starts at 1:00 PM EDT, with a memorial service starting at 2:00 PM EDT. The Celebration continues at Konstantine’s Greek Taverna in Highland Maryland with refreshments at 4:00 PM EDT. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Salvation Army or the Les Walker Tribute Fund through the Alzheimer’s Association at the following link:
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