This was published in the February 8, 2001 issue of the Morning Sun News-Herald. I am related to Mr. Walker's wife, Vinnie Westfall. The article was written by Marge Kimble, half-sister of Ross.
(Albert) Ross Walker was the fourth child of the eleven born to Samuel and Hattie Mae Walker. He was their last child born in the nineteenth century, born on Christmas Eve, 1899 (a Sunday), near Newport, Iowa. Probably named after his Uncle Albert E. Walker, who died as a baby. When Ross was born his sister, Maude was 2 years old, brother George 3, and Elsie 5 on that Christmas Eve, so the household was indeed awash in small children as the family got their holiday present. Ross was the second redhead in the family. (Elsie was first). Albert Ross, in the fine tradition of the family, was always known by his middle name.
Ross grew up in Louisa County, Iowa, and when he was 21 years old he married Vinnie Westfall, the daughter of Jacob and Eva Westfall, on February 23, 1922. They had four children between 1922 and 1934, one girl and three boys. Ross and Vinnie's boys, Ralph and Kenneth, present live in Iowa and Indiana. Donald, the oldest child was born December 1, 1922, and died September 17, 2000 in New York. Lela Maxine Walker, their daughter, was born about a month before the stock market crash on September 10, 1929 and died October 15, 1977.
Lela's middle name, Maxine, matched the middle name of Wilda Maxine Walker (the daughter of Ross's brother (Thomas) Clifford and his wife (Wilda) Marguerite); Wilda was a cousin who was born earlier in that same year as Lela, on March 11, 1929.
At the young age of 35 on Wednesday, May 15, 1936, Ross Walker succumbed to meningitis (he had been in the hospital sick with pneumonia), leaving his wife, children, and the farm without a husband or father. Vinnie Walker didn't remarry after this, but raised the children on her own by moving to Burlington, Iowa and going to work there. Her courage and resolution in accomplishing such a daunting task during a time period when women were by no means afforded equal wages, nor generally decent jobs , certainly is admirable.