Benjamin S. Walker Sr., 77

He was a writer for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

April 20, 2007

Benjamin S. Walker Sr., a retired Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory writer and a baseball fan, died Saturday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda of a subdural hematoma as a result of a fall. The Rockville resident was 77.

Mr. Walker was born in Omaha, Neb., and raised in Washington. After earning a bachelor's degree from Auburn University in 1951, he enlisted in the Navy and served for three years aboard the USS John R. Craig, a destroyer, during the Korean War.

From 1954 to 1960, he was a technical writer for RCA Services Co., Vitro Laboratories and Washington Engineering Services Co. One of his assignments was writing the technical manual for the USS Boston, the Navy's first guided missile ship.

In 1960, Mr. Walker went to work for the APL and for the next 43 years wrote and edited technical reports, scripts, articles, news releases and brochures. He retired in 2003.

Mr. Walker had a reputation as a gifted science writer with an ability to make complex scientific and technical information easy to understand, said Margaret Brown, an APL writer and graphic designer.

During his career, Mr. Walker also wrote articles for the U.S. Postal Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI. At his death, he was a writer in Washington for the Whelan Group, a private management consulting firm.

For years, Mr. Walker was a volunteer reading tutor at Hammond Elementary School in Laurel, where he established a Web-based newspaper writing course for fourth-graders that is used by teachers nationwide, Ms. Brown said.

Mr. Walker was an avid baseball fan and enjoyed attending spring training with his son, Benjamin S. Walker Jr. of New York City, a national baseball writer for the Associated Press.

"Baltimore was always a really special place for my dad," his son said. "He loved coming to Memorial Stadium for games."

Mr. Walker enjoyed classical music, took piano lessons, taught himself to juggle and practiced Chinese calligraphy.

Services will be private.

Also surviving are his wife of 52 years, the former Connie Cautilli, a novelist.

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