November 16, 2022, 90, Mount Olive –
A memorial service celebrating the life of Derl Gray Walker will be held this Sunday at 2:00 pm November 20, 2022 at the Mount Olive Ward building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 130 Mormon Church Road, Mount Olive, NC 28365
Derl Gray Walker passed through the veil on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. He was born on January 23, 1932, and would have been 91 years old on his next birthday. His wife Erna Mae Cooke Walker preceded him in death on March 19, 2021.
Derl was born in the Beautancus Community and was one of 8 children of Commodore Perry Walker and Martha Elizabeth McArthur where he helped his father on the family farm.
Derl graduated from Calypso High School in 1951. Two years later he was drafted into the United States Army where he served as an Army Cook and later was deployed overseas to Germany. After receiving an honorable discharge in 1955 he enrolled at East Carolina University and graduated in 1958 with a BS in Business Education and teaching.
Derl married the love of his life Erna Mae Cooke on December 21, 1956, at Smith’s Chapel United Methodist Church of Mt. Olive, NC. Later Derl and Erna were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 23, 1966, for All Time and All Eternity. Derl and Erna are survived by their four children and their spouses, James (Jim) Derl and Cheryl Walker, David Cooke and Karen Walker, Lynda Lorelle Walker, and Derk Gray and Anna Walker. He has 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Derl was a savvy businessman and salesman and also ran for political office. Some of his most successful accomplishments were running his Seed and Fertilizer Retail store, working with the National Farmers Organization and running a business that manufactured and sold a machine that aided farmers in harvesting vegetable crops. In 1994 Derl was elected the first Republican County Commissioner in over 100 years in Duplin County. Derl Walker was a dedicated patriot and loved his country.
On December 25, 1964, Derl and Erna joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Derl served as Branch President, Bishop, High Councilman, and Patriarch. Derl and Erna served 3 missions together: Peoria Illinois, Ghana Africa, and Jacksonville, Arkansas. While serving in Africa for 18 months, he helped develop a system that provided clean water. Derl and Erna later served a temple mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Raleigh North Carolina.
Derl was an avid gardener and was at his happiest when driving his Farmall 100 tractor. He enjoyed sharing his home-grown vegetables with his family and neighbors. He loved his Savior Jesus Christ and was often found reading his scriptures, writing in his journal, and kneeling daily in prayer.