Dr. A. Earl Walker, neurosurgeon

January 07, 1995|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,Sun Staff Writer

Dr. A. Earl Walker, former chairman of the Division of Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, died New Year's Day after an apparent heart attack while riding in a car near Tucson, Ariz. He was 87.

He retired about a year ago as a full-time professor at the University of New Mexico. In 1972, he retired from the Hopkins faculty after 25 years.

"He was such an important figure in neurosurgery. He had a hand in educating an entire generation of neurosurgeons. He was the ultimate professor, always knowledgeable, always teaching, always reaching for more," said Dr. Donlin M. Long, chairman of the Hopkins Department of Neurosurgery. "His greatest contribution was insisting on research in neurosurgery and neurology in general."

Dr. Walker became professor of neurological surgery at Hopkins in 1947. During his tenure, he established the Division of Neurosurgery, started training others in many fields of neurology, established laboratories -- one of them using computers to analyze brain functions -- and encouraged contributions from psychiatrists, psychologists and other behavioral scientists in work on complex neurosurgical problems.

His research produced more than 400 papers and eight books.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he earned a medical degree at the University of Alberta in 1930. After an internship at Toronto Western Hospital, he completed a residency at the University of Chicago.

He also studied at Yale University and universities in the Netherlands and Belgium, was chief of neurology at a hospital in Framingham, Mass., and taught at the University of Chicago before coming to Hopkins.

He was a research and teaching professor at the University of New Mexico and lived in Albuquerque after leaving Hopkins.

He was a former president of the American Association of Neurosurgeons, the American Neurological Association, the World Federation of Neurological Societies and several other professional organizations in his field.

Arrangements for memorial services at Hopkins and the University of New Mexico were incomplete yesterday.

He is survived by his wife, the former Agnes Marshall; a son, Earl Fulton Walker of Saugatuck, Mich.; two daughters, Carol Walker Jones of Naples, Texas, and Kristina Walker of Palm City, Fla.; a brother, Gordon Walker of Calgary, Alberta; two sisters, Mabel Catlow of Lake San Marcos, Calif., and Ora Hollingsworth of Victoria, British Columbia; and two grandchildren.

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