James Otis “Jim” Walker was born May 2, 1928 inside a small house on 10th Street in Amarillo, TX. He was the son of Otis and Dolly Walker; and his grandparents, Milton Green and Tisha Walker were original homesteaders to the Texas panhandle. Jim attended grade school in Conway, TX and was a graduate of Panhandle High School in 1945.
After high school, he worked as a ranch hand for the Wagner Ranch in Vernon, TX and many other iconic Texas panhandle ranches. On October 2, 1950 he was drafted into the US Army as an infantryman. He served 1.5 years in the Korean War where he fought on the front lines and was honorably discharged from the Army in February 1956. After his service in Korea, he continued his work as a ranch hand on the Matador Ranch in Channing, TX. He loved the cowboy lifestyle; working with horses, sleeping under the stars, and eating out of a chuck wagon.
In an effort by his mother and his sister, Nita, to make him more civilized in 1957, he went to work for Pantex. There he met the beautiful secretary Carolyn Cayton who became his wife for 41 years. Together they raised five children, Doug, Diane, Mary Lynn, Charlotte and Sherri. For the next 35 years, Jim spent his time working in agriculture; he ran his own cattle and worked at First Bank of the Southwest where he was cattle and ranch appraiser. In June 2001 he married the second love of his life, Leta Fern Dye Rutherford of Claude, TX, who was a faithful companion, protector and caretaker. The couple lived in both Claude and Amarillo.
The family would like to thank his caring and compasionate care givers, Cris and Laura Sanchez, Yazman Cordiel and Caryn Garcia.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Carolyn; three children, Sherri Ann Payne, Ava Diane Veach and Douglas Cayton Cummings; and three brothers, Melvin, Robert and Jo Pat Walker.
He is survived by his wife Leta; his daughters Mary Lynn Nelson of Atlanta, GA and Charlotte Lowe and her husband John of Richardson, TX; his sister Nita Duncan of Ft. Worth, TX; his grandchildren Meggie Thrasher, Matthew Nelson, Kira Lowe, Corey Lowe, Lauren Urbanczyk, and Michael Veach; two great-grandchildren, Truett and Quinn Nelson and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A funeral service is scheduled for 9:00 AM on Thursday, July 30th at Schooler Funeral Home, Brentwood Chapel. Pastor Chris Downer of Bible Baptist Church in Slaton will officiate. The Volley for Veterans Organization will provide military honors. Burial will follow in the Claude Cemetery, Claude, Texas. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 S. Georgia.