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TILTON – James B. Walker, 85, a longtime resident of Tilton, NH, died on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, at Concord Hospital of complications from coronary artery disease.
James was born and raised in Dunbarton, NH, son of the late Ralph and Reba (Sawyer) Walker, and brother of the late Lillon Walker. After graduation from Concord High School, James served in the U.S. Army, 1951-53, stationed in Alaska. James lived and worked for most of his life in the Lakes Region, where he owned and operated Walker Glass Company of Laconia. He also owned Walker Rentals in Nashua. James married Vivian (Kalled) Walker in 1962 and they lived together at their home on Lake Winnisquam until her death in 2011.
James liked nothing better than to work hard to improve the world around him. Many who knew him said he would work until the day he died, which turned out to be true. He worked tirelessly in his businesses, for his family, and for the causes that mattered to him. Foremost among these was his devotion to preserving and improving the natural environment of the Lakes Region and the State of New Hampshire. James discovered his passion for environmental causes in the late 1960s in response to the dumping of sewage into Lake Winnisquam by the city of Laconia. This practice led to algae blooms and rendered the lake hazardous for recreational uses. James successfully sued Laconia to halt the practice. As a founding member and longtime president of the Lakes Region Clean Water Association (LRCWA), he also coordinated the successful effort to convince federal and state authorities to invest in a public sanitation system to encompass the entire Lakes Region. The resulting Winnipesaukee River Basin Program was the first of its kind in the United States. The Lakes Region has among the cleanest waters in the northeast thanks to the efforts of James and his colleagues in the LRCWA. The struggle to save the lakes is recounted in detail in the documentary film Clearing the Water: The Story of the Lakes Region Clean Waters Association by Accompany Films. While the lakes were James’ central passion he also lent his energy and can-do spirit to a host of other environmental causes. Among these, he was active in the Clamshell Alliance, and participated in the drafting of the decommissioning legislation for the Seabrook nuclear power plant. He campaigned successfully to curb herbicide use in the lakes, and unsuccessfully to convince the NH legislature to adopt a bottle bill.
He is survived by his son, Phillip Walker, of Dunbarton, Phillip’s wife Maya Rushing Walker, and their children Sophia, Isaac, Grace and Allegra.
Burial will be in the family lot in the Pages Corner Cemetery in Dunbarton, next to Vivian, his wife of 49 years.
A memorial reception will take place 2:00 - 4:00 PM on Saturday, August 25, 2018, at the James Walker House, 777 Laconia Road in Tilton.
Well-wishers can make a donation in memory of James to the NH Lakes Association, www.nhlakes.org.
There's still time to send flowers to the Memorial Reception at the James Walker House from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on August 25, 2018.
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