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June 17, 1931 - April 7, 2020
NORMAN ROGER WALKER (Roger) was born on June 17, 1931 and died April 7, 2020 at the age of 88. He passed away peacefully at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, British Columbia. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Selina Suzie (Schwab) in 2000. He will be dearly missed by his son Jeremy and daughter-in-law Kari (Houston, TX), daughters Jennifer and Stephanie (Toronto, ON), his three grandchildren Riley, Mason and Miranda, his sister Heather Nesbit and nieces Caroline Pickering and Sarah Walker, in England, the Schwab family and many other family and friends in Canada and abroad.
Roger was born in Bingley, Yorkshire in England to a British father, Eric Norman Walker and a Canadian mother, Helen MacGachen. He split his childhood between England and Canada with several transatlantic crossings. One of note, was in 1943, returning to England on a neutral Portuguese liner called the S.S. Nyassa with blazing lights it travelled through a blacked-out convoy of ships. The Nyassa travelled to Lisbon, Portugal where the family stayed for several months before being able to return to Britain via a Sunderland flying boat. At the age of 14 Roger was enrolled at the Nautical College Pangbourne in Berkshire and after graduating, in December 1948, joined the Clan Line Steamers as a cadet deck officer, with voyages to Africa and India. In 1952, he joined the Canadian Pacific Steamships, with numerous cross-Atlantic and Caribbean trips. In 1955, he was granted a Short Service commission in the Canadian Navy which had him stationed in Halifax and Hamilton, ON. He saw service on the HMCS “Sault Ste. Marie”, ”Star” & “La Hulloise” as a Gunnery Officer.
In 1958, while on winter exercises, he met his future wife, Mary Schwab who was visiting family in Bermuda. Roger left the Navy in 1959 and they were married in 1960. They moved to Montreal where he began a career in the Canadian investment community. He started as a research analyst. He and Mary welcomed a son, Jeremy and daughter, Jennifer while in Montreal before moving to Toronto in 1966. In 1967, their third child, Stephanie was born.
While living in Toronto, Roger became actively involved in his community. He was the Treasurer of his Anglican church, Christ Church Deer Park. He was also the Cub Leader, Scout Leader and Group Committee chairman of the 10th Toronto Scout Group. He was deeply involved in the Scouting program, organizing and participating on numerous canoe trips to Algonquin, Temagami and Quetico parks. He developed a strong interest in antique toy collecting and became the treasurer of the Canadian Toy Collecting Society. He also became a member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute and Fort York Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
In 1992, he and Mary moved to Victoria, BC. He again threw himself into his new community becoming the President of the Newcomers Society, Treasurer of St. Dunstan’s Church, 10+ year Docent at the Maritime Museum of BC, First Mate of the Thermopylae Club and member of the Naval Officer’s Association of Vancouver Island. He was awarded the “S.S.Beaver Medal” in 2010 (given in recognition of community service) and was honored to be a Keeper of the “S.S. Beaver Medals” on behalf of the Maritime Museum of BC. Only 400 medals were ever produced, they were struck from cooper fittings from the S.S. Beaver, the first steamship on the coast of North America.
Roger will be remembered by his family for his vast interests and curiosity, his love of music, his keen desire for travel, his enthusiasm for sharing these with others, his loving devotion to family and friends and his tireless energy and desire to step in and help when needed.
Roger was the boy who wanted to go to sea to see the world – and he did.
His family will look to have a celebration of life ceremony later this year. Those who wish to make a donation, may do so to: The Martime Museum of BC, SALTS (the Sail and Life Training Society) or St. Dunstan’s Church.