Warrenton Town Police shut down Third Street for about 20 minutes Sunday as a crowd gathered at 2 p.m. to honor the legacy of former Town Councilman Bob Walker, who passed away June 24 at age 85.
The Town Council voted to recognize Walker with an honorary renaming of South Third Street. The street is still named South Third Street; however, an honorary designation, “Bob Walker Way” now sits below the street name.
Del. Michael Webert, R-18th, as well as Councilmen Renard Carlos (at large), Robert Kravetz (Ward 4), Sean Polster (at large) and Brett Hamby (Ward 3) were present for the ceremony, as were Walker’s wife Lillian, his sister Frances and dozens of other family members, friends and well-wishers.
Carlos called on those in attendance to continue Walker’s legacy by staying engaged in the community and to continually ask, “Is it fair?”
Walker was Warrenton's first black town council member and served for 17 years, starting in the mid-1980s. He operated Walker's Barber Shop on Third Street, where he learned barbering skills from his father.
Walker was a strong voice for racial justice during the turbulent years of school integration and was a lifetime member of the NAACP. He was a school bus driver for 32 years, a longtime Mason, and a devoted member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church.
At Sunday’s ceremony, Lillian Walker admitted, “I had a meltdown this morning, so I’m not going to do that here.”
She thanked all those attending for their love and support, and thanked “God in heaven, for the history that has been made.”
She added, “That torch that Bob carried, it’s not just going to lay down on the ground. I’d like to see others pick it up and carry on.”
Reach Robin Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org