John D. Walker Family
John D. Walker Family Fondly Reminisce and Proudly Support Grant Regional Health Center
When you hear or speak of the John and Mary Lou Walker family, chances are you think of the legacy of Walker's Clothing and Shoe store in Lancaster. But another long standing connection you might not know of - is the connection of their family to our local hospital - Grant Regional Health Center.
Mary Lou recalls being the nurse on duty to help deliver the very first baby born at the hospital (then Lancaster Memorial Hospital) in 1955. The doctor wasn't able to make it to the hospital on time - so Mary Lou was instrumental in bringing the little girl into the world. The family was so grateful that she was affectionately named after her nurse Mary Lou. She also shared that she remembers taking care of well-known Lulu Williams when she worked for Grant County nurses. (Lulu Williams was the first benefactor to donate funds for our hospital to be built.) All of their six children (Jeff, Dave, Mike, Steve, Sharon, and Tom) were born at the Lancaster hospital. There were bumps and bruises and trips to the hospital that occur with six children, but of those the most serious was Mary Lou's bout with cancer in the early 70s. She beat that battle with cancer and they went on to live a healthy and happy life in Lancaster, summers by the river in Prairie du Chien and wintering in Florida.
The connection continues on in the family’s next generation with many grandchildren pursuing careers in healthcare. Mike’s daughter Dr. Alyssa (Walker) Nathan is in residency in North Carolina and Sharon’s daughter Claire is in her first year of medical school to become a doctor. Steve’s daughter Liz is attending college at Edgewood College in Madison pursuing a degree in nursing…following in the footsteps of her mother Laurie, Grandmother Mary Lou and Aunt Sharon Friederick. Tom’s son Janek is pursuing his graduate degree in Hematology/Oncology. Mike’s son Scott is also employed in a related field, working as a project manager for EPIC software implementation.
Their interests and accomplishments made John and Mary Lou very proud, to say the least.
The family was saddened to lose John, the patriarch of their family, this past February. John became ill and was hospitalized at Grant Regional. The family wanted to show their appreciation for the care John received and have chosen to support the hospital through a lasting tribute to John with a donation to the important Swing-bed program. Their heartfelt donation is a portion from memorials and a portion from the Walker family.
"The Swing-bed program is a wonderful asset to our community. Our dad was fortunate to receive five-star care at Grant Regional," said his son Steve. "These services included nursing, physical, respiratory, and occupational therapies,” explained his daughter Sharon. “With the health concerns Dad had at the time of his admission, we were aware a long term facility might have to be the next step. We were very pleased that Swing-bed was an option for him and he then was able to stay there in a familiar place and received outstanding care at our local hospital. Many times dad said how lucky he was to be able to get such top-notch care five blocks from his home.”
“We're forever grateful," says Steve, Sharon and the entire Walker family.”