Katharine Margaret Walker died peacefully on Jan. 3 of complications following pneumonia at Glenbrook Skilled Nursing Center in Carlsbad, Calif. She was 92.
Known as Peg or Peggy, she was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on August 29, 1919 to Mildred and Captain David I. Hedrick, a family of U.S. Naval Academy-trained officers which later included two of her brothers and son David. Shortly after graduating as valedictorian from The Ogontz School in Philadelphia, Pa., she married Ensign Thomas Jackson Walker 3rd of Edgartown. He was the son of Barbara and Raymond Walker and the brother of James Cleaveland Walker, also of Edgartown, and first cousin to Cynthia Riggs of West Tisbury. As a Navy wife, Peg’s greatest achievements were raising her three sons to become thriving adults and her husband to the rank of vice admiral.
An artist at heart, she created beauty in her many homes, gardens and later in life in her oil and watercolor paintings. While living in Solana Beach, Calif., Peg bred and showed Belgian sheepdogs. She was very proud of winning national best of breed with the female, pointing out that “it is very hard for a bitch to win.” Her dogs and children were highly trained, and son John said her bark could make anyone freeze.
She was almost always right, and it has been said more than once “Either she will win the debate or you will wish you had lost.” Her mind, tongue and sense of humor were sharp almost to the very end. Her family, friends and Kim Allison, her caregiver, will miss her. Her husband, a naval aviator, Vice Admiral Thomas Walker, retired from the Navy as Commander Naval Air Forces, Pacific, North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado, Calif,. in the seventies, and predeceased her in 2003. One son, David Raymond Walker, predeceased them both in 1985. Peg also outlived her brothers and their spouses: David Hedrick and wife Elisabeth of Doylestown, Pa., and James Hedrick and wife Peg of Pensacola, Fla.
Peg leaves behind two sons, Thomas Jackson Walker Jr. and wife Julia of Wilton, Conn., and John Worthington Walker and wife Barbara of Santa Cruz, Calif.; two grandchildren, Katharine Champion Walker and husband Jeremy Copeland in San Diego, Calif., and David Tuxford Walker in San Clemente, Calif.; David’s mother Barbara in Encinitas, Calif.; great-grandchild Elizabeth Leona Copeland of San Diego, Calif.; and a nephew, Robert Hedrick and his Louise of Elm Grove, Wis.
In accordance with her wishes, a private memorial service was held in the small chapel at St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 17, followed by the scattering of her ashes in the church garden as was done for her son David. Donations in her memory to support our military men and women may be made to Fisher House Foundation, 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850.