Long-time Greenville resident Fred C. Walker died Aug. 27 at the Vicar’s Landing retirement facility in Ponte Verda, Florida. He was 99 years old.
Originally from Ridgley, Tennessee, it was Walker’s career in advertising that brought him to Greenville in the 1950s, said his wife Jo Ann Terry Walker. He first worked for Sears and Roebuck and later at Greenville’s Henderson Advertising Agency, where he rose to the position of vice chairman.
Following his retirement, Walker went on to plan the fundraising efforts leading to the construction and opening of the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, said Elizabeth Stall, member of the Peace family.
“I have known Fred as a friend for many years, but we became closely acquainted when we were building the Peace Center,” Stall said. “David Freeman and I met him for breakfast every Tuesday for six years planning the Peace Center. He was a major part of it with the planning fundraising, groundbreaking campaign and the slogans that went with the campaign. He had retired and took it on as a non-paying job. He was creative and fun and very skilled at what he did.”
By chairing the $42 million capital campaign to build the Peace Center, Walker played a significant role in transforming the community, said Megan Riegel, president and CEO of the Peace Center.
“It was a transformational success story of downtown redevelopment,” Riegel said. “If you think about Greenville in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it was a very different place. Fred Walker played a major role in revitalizing this community because the Peace Center was a really big deal in the redevelopment of downtown Greenville. Our community leadership sought to bring a sleepy city back to life, and they were successful. It must have been incredible for Fred to reflect back on his life and see the positive impact his leadership efforts had on all of us.”
In addition to his work with the Peace Center, Walker volunteered for the United Way and served as past president of the Community Foundation of Greenville and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.
He also served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps in WWII and was active in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, where he retired as a colonel.