Grace Mary Walker, 77, social worker supervisor

May 20, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Grace Mary Walker, a retired social worker supervisor, died Tuesday of breast cancer at Sinai Hospital. She was 77 and lived in the Ashburton section of Northwest Baltimore.

For 35 years, she was a caseworker and, later, a supervisor at the Department of Social Services. She trained many caseworkers in foster care, aid to families with dependent children, services to adults and day care.

"She was a dedicated and tireless professional who often worked late into the night and on weekends to complete her assignments," said her husband, Wilbert L. Walker, also a retired social work administrator, whom she married in 1951. "She was a modest person. When she retired in 1985, she did it without fanfare and the traditional retirement ceremony."

Recalled by former co-workers as a mannerly, soft-spoken, well-dressed person, Mrs. Walker joined the city Department of Public Welfare in 1950, then based in downtown Baltimore.

"She was thorough, dedicated and well-respected by her co-workers," said Pearl Moulton, a retired social worker who lives in West Baltimore. "She loved what she was doing."

In addition to her work as a supervisor, she also was a field instructor for Howard University students and was a member of the advisory council on vocational education for the Baltimore Department of Education.

In 1992, she and her husband created the Grace and Wilbert Walker Endowed Social Work Scholarship at Morgan State University. About 25 students have been beneficiaries of the fund.

Born in Gloucester County, Va., the former Grace Mary Clayborne was reared in West Baltimore. She was a 1942 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School. She majored in sociology at Morgan State, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in 1946. She received a master's degree in 1950 from Atlanta University's School of Social Work.

She enjoyed travel but was afraid to fly. She sailed to Europe on the old SS France in 1968 and 1972, and traveled while there by auto, bus and train. She also cruised to Bermuda, South America and the Caribbean islands.

She kept a backyard garden with roses, annuals and lilies.

A member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and the Alpha Wives of Baltimore, she was a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Morgan State University National Alumni Association and the Maryland Conference of Social Concern.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3200 Walbrook Ave., where she was a charter member.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Walker also is survived by a son, Ronald L. Walker of Baltimore; a brother, Herman Clayborne of Baltimore; a sister, Elizabeth Demby of Baltimore; and a granddaughter.

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