Stanley Edward Walker
1910 - 2002
Stanley Edward Walker, an organist, taught in four Seventh-day Adventist colleges and chaired the music department in two. He and Melvin K. West were the first two SDA organists to be recognized as Fellows in the American Guild of Organists.
Stanley was born in Portland, Oregon, on May 20, 1910, the older of two sons of George L. Walker and Millicent Belle Stanley Walker. He started piano lessons at age thirteen with Blythe Owen and organ with Margaret Holden-Rippey, both former music teachers at WWC, and began his career giving keyboard lessons at Columbia and Portland Union academies in the Portland, Oregon, area.
He accepted a position at Walla Walla College, now University, in 1935 and married Eleanor May Roberts on September 12, 1935. She was a 1933 graduate of WWC who had been serving as preceptress and music teacher at Yakima Valley Academy for the past two years. They would have two daughters, Mary Eleanor (Norcliffe) and Margaret Louise (McNeill).
Walker would teach at WWC until 1959, providing a thread of continuity as several music faculty changes occurred at the college. In his last fourteen years, he served as chair of the music department. During those years he completed both undergraduate and master's degrees in music at Northwestern University. He would later study organ with teachers at the University of Washington, Eastman School of Music, Union Theological Seminary, and Boston University. In 1953 he was recognized by a yearbook dedication that applauded his standards, exemplary Christian life, and contributions to the campus and the department; was twice awarded prizes regionally for his composing; and gained recognition as a Fellow in the American Guild of organists in 1957.
In 1959 he accepted a position at Atlantic Union College, where he would serve as organist and music department chair for the next eight years. He then taught music theory and organ at Andrews University and Southern Missionary College, now Southern Adventist University, until his retirement in the Loma Linda, California, area in 1978.
He continued to play organ into his eighties. Following the death of Eleanor on March 10, 1988, at age 76, he married Dorothy Shermah Beardsley McNeill. They were living in Riverside when Stanley died on January 5, 2002, at age 91. Dorothy died on February 25, 2008, at age 93. A Stanley E. Walker Music Scholarship endowment was established at WWC in his 90th year to honor his service in SDA music education.
Sources: 1920, 1930 U.S. Federal Census Records, Ancestry.com; Norcliffe Family Tree, Stanley Edward Walker Facts, Ancestry.com; Stanley Walker, telephone interviews by author, July 5, 11, 12, 1990, and October 1991; Pacific Union Gleaner, October 22, 195; "Upper Columbia Conference," May 9, 1933, 6; 1934 and 1935 Yearbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination, 252 and 255, respectively; "Professor Walker Becomes Fellow of American Guild of Organists," North Pacific Union Gleaner, October 7, 1957, 16; "Department of Music Adds New Staff," Lake Union Herald, 1968, 16; 1953 Mountain Ash, Walla Walla College yearbook; "Music Department Head to Leave WWC," North Pacific Union Gleaner, March 16, 1959, 8; Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.com; Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.com; McNeill Family Tree, Dorothy Shermah Beardsley McNeill Facts, Ancestry.com; Personal knowledge, I was serving as chair of the WWC music department when the scholarship was established.