Monday, January 12, 2015

Roy de Walker

Roy de Walker
April 30, 1945 – December 25, 2014

Roy de Walker was born in Louisville, Mississippi on April 30, 1945, to the union of Curtis Walker and Christine L. Jackson Walker.  Affectionately known as “Rollie” by friends and family members, he was the fourth of ten siblings.  From his days as a youth, Roy grabbed the respect of those around him and set out to do his best.  He took interest in reading and engaged in activities that had definite purpose.  In school, he earned good grades and secured the leading roles in the annual productions put on at Rocky Hill Elementary School.  Most importantly, it was at Oak Grove Baptist Church during Easter recitations and other programs for the youth that Roy exhibited and developed his love for speaking and began to hone his oratorical skills.  It was here also, that Roy was baptized and accepted Christ.

Like his siblings, Roy toiled in the cotton fields and tilled the red Mississippi clay with as much physical strength as was required of him.  However, mentally his vision took him far beyond the boundaries of the segregated situations of the South and to a world of opportunity.  His mother, Christine, saw his promise and encouraged him to use his intelligence as a way to support himself in the future.  His jubilant educational journey continued in the classrooms of Noxapater Vocational High School where he excelled in his studies.  The schools in Winston County were consolidated in the early 60s and Roy graduated May 24, 1962 from Louisville Negro High School. However, his diploma has Noxapater Vocational High School on it because he attended there for 3 ½ years and only one semester at Louisville Negro High School.
With education as his avenue away from the adversity awaiting him in a segregated world, Roy enrolled in Tougaloo College.  Financial aid opportunities were bleak for African Americans in the sixties and Roy faced the possibility of having to leave school.  However, he didn’t allow his dream of earning a college degree to be deferred.  In 1965, he joined the United States Navy.  In the Navy, he was trained in Russian Nuclear Submarine Surveillance.  The Navy afforded him the opportunity to bring into fruition the visions he had on the back roads of Mississippi.  He traveled to Norway, Denmark, Spain, UK, Portugal, Italy, Malta, and Puerto Rico igniting his passion to explore the treasures the world has to offer.  He ended his tour of duty in 1971 and returned to Tougaloo College.
Roy was an active and engaged student when he returned from the Navy.  He accepted a research fellowship in African history that allowed him to have a euphoric experience at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana in 1971.  When he returned back to Mississippi and Tougaloo College, he worked as a research assistant with The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Jackson from 1971 to 1972. Roy graduated from Tougaloo College in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.  
After graduation, Roy moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he taught 7th and 8th grade at Henry C. Lea School in the Philadelphia School District.  His tenure there was short however, and he enrolled in law school at The University of San Francisco.  He earned his Juris Doctorate in law in 1976.
Roy worked with a few firms throughout his professional career. He worked for Perkins, Coie, Stone, Olsen, and Williams; Howard, Prime, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, and Pollak; and Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon LLP; and Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP.  Eventually he opened his own practice, de Walker Group.  His practice encompassed: intellectual property, intellectual agreements, general litigation, civil appeals, and international law with a focus on Japan.  Though he was a well-respected lawyer, there was so much more to Roy Walker.
Roy took great pride in entertaining, loved to travel, and served others with his heart. He often hosted parties on his boat – Sultana – and at his home.  He enjoyed cooking the variety of fresh seafood offered in the bay area accompanied by a glass of fine wine.  He traveled across the United States around the world as far as Hong Kong, China and Tokyo, Japan.  One of his favorite destinations for relaxation was on the beaches of Barbados.  He was a servant to anyone who needed his assistance.  You could always count on Roy to provide you with sound advice (legal and life) or to be a listening ear.  He was also available at times to assist family members during times of monetary distress.  When it came to his nieces and nephews, he wanted the best for them. Though he lived thousands of miles away, he was a present fixture in their lives.  He sent care packages and made special phone calls. He attended graduations and weddings. He made special visits to the sick and helped bury those who departed this life before him. He inquired about, and was genuinely interested in, their life’s direction.  If he found them lacking motivation, he dared them to find their dream.
Roy de Walker gave all he had to give in this life.  On December 25, 2014, having sent his siblings a Christmas greeting via email, God decided it was time for him to come home.  He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents Robert and Roxie Prince Walker; maternal grandparents Edd and Jeffie Knowles Jackson, parents Curtis and Christine Walker; and brother Hosea Walker.  He leaves to mourn his death siblings: Tevell (Helen), Nettie (Lylton), Curtis (Truevinia), Nannie (Willie), Wayne (Mildred deceased), Evelyn (David deceased), Jerome (Dorothy), and Loretta; over thirty nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews; the Oak Grove Community; and countless other relatives and friends.

                                                                        Written by: Corey Stokes (Nephew)