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Ray Walker, Penn State’s Oldest Alumnus, Dies At 105

by on June 09, 2017 6:26 PM

Ray Walker, Penn State’s oldest alumnus, passed away this morning in his home in Bigler at age 105.

Walker graduated from Penn State in 1935 with a degree in business, which he actively practiced during his time at school to be able to not only fund his education but also send money home to his family during the Great Depression. He continued this entrepreneurial spirit immediately after graduation — after starting his own company (the Clearfield County-based Bradford Coal Company) the year he graduated, the university became one of his first clients.

Despite all of his working while at school, Walker was an incredibly well-rounded student, keeping his plate full as a member of the campus symphony, the ROTC band, a photo manager for La Vie, and as a brother of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He remained involved with the fraternity long after he graduated, helping the brothers raise money via various events and even hosting them at his home for parties.

Penn State also remained a significant part of Walker’s life, as he donated significant time and money to the university in various capacities. He was named a Distinguished Penn State Alumnus by the Alumni Association in 1996.

Together with his wife of 66 year, Louise Saupp Walker, who passed away in 2006, Walker gave back extensively to his local community through support of numerous organizations and charities and founding a variety of civic and youth organizations.

The Walkers transformed their home and surrounding 10 acres, once a dumping ground for a brick factory, into Walker Gardens, which opened for public tours and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for community projects.

In 2002 he received the Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth Award from The Pennsylvania Society.

When Onward State talked to Walker in 2014 he didn’t show any signs of slowing down. His legacy will live on through his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, the many organizations he supported, and countless generations of Penn Staters.

“My advice to current Penn Staters is to work 48 hours a day, eight days a week,” Ray said in 2014. “That’s what I did!”

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 17 at First Presbyterian Church in Clearfield.  Burial will be in the Crown Crest Memorial Park in Hyde.

Friends will be received at church on Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.; on Friday 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 10-11 a.m..

Memories and tributes may be left online at

Lexi Shimkonis is a news editor for Onward State. The Penn State sophomore is studying civil engineering. She calls Spring City, Pa. her home.
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