George Calvin Walker was born to Calvin Walker and Doris Attwood Walker in Rison, Arkansas on February 2, 1935. He attended Rison Public Schools, where he was a multi-sport athlete, best known for his success as a quarterback for the Rison Wildcats football program.
Recently, the Rison School District named the football stadium “George Walker Champions Field”. George and many former players never forgot their roots. He and many of his teammates formed a foundation that created a scholarship program for deserving student athletes at their alma mater. As a brochure during the naming ceremony proclaimed, “George Walker is truly Mr. Wildcat”. George is still considered one of Rison’s favorite sons.
He attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville graduating with his B.A. and M.B.A. degrees. However, George considered his greatest achievement at the University meeting Jacque Davis and marrying her June 1, 1958. Jacque was the love of his life and the subject he liked to talk about most. They were married 60 years, constantly acknowledging the blessings of their marriage and family.
During his years as a Razorback, George and his teammates were named the “25 Little Pigs” based on their number of players and their size. In 1954 they won the Southwest Conference Championship and went on to play Georgia Tech in the Cotton Bowl. He was captain of Jack Mitchell’s 1957 squad. During his time as a Razorback, George received various awards, but the one he was most proud of was his selection as an Academic All-American.
After graduation, George was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but instead, chose to leave football behind and began a successful career in banking. George served in the U.S. Army Reserve and later active duty. His first career job out of the army was with Union National Bank in Little Rock, where his first two daughters were born. He was there five years, before joining Simmons First National Bank in Pine Bluff where his third daughter was born.
He spent 50 years with Simmons where he became Executive Vice President. He was constantly amazed at the talent, dedication, loyalty and friendship of his associates. He was very proud of the high standard of ethics and community spirit expected and shown by the bank’s management through the years.
In George’s early years at Simmons he was a member with several other bank officers of the Bank Notes, a band who played all over Arkansas, especially at banking events. George also wrote a book about the history of Simmons Bank from its original charter in 1903, which was distributed to analysts, associates and shareholders. He also attended the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.
It is said that George tried to retire three times, but management kept calling him back to help guide the bank. To all that knew George, he was simply a friend who would be there for you, regardless of the situation. He was asked to help raise funds with Coach Lee Hardman to build the Golden Lions Stadium. He and Coach Hardman traveled thousands of miles looking at stadiums and bringing back the “best practices”. He would never write or talk about his awards, but they were numerous. In 1999, he was elected to the Razorback Sports Hall of Honor and in 2007, he was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF). In 2016, ASHOF named their new reception center after George Walker.
George was a long-time member of First United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff. He died February 9, 2019, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas surrounded by friends and family. George was preceded in death by his wife, Jacque Davis Walker; a daughter, Kimberly Walker Bellingrath; his parents, Calvin & Doris Walker; and brother, Lamar Walker. George is survived by daughters, Kelly Laing (Darrell) of Highlands Ranch, CO and Kristy Armstrong (Wil) of Cherry Hills Village, CO; grandchildren, Adam Bellingrath, Anne Davis Bellingrath, Elisabeth Armstrong, Kathryn Armstrong, Jack Armstrong and Jacqueline Laing.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Rison Champions Endowment Scholarship Fund, c/o Arkansas Community Foundation, 1400 W. Markham – Suite 206, Little Rock, AR 72201.
The funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 16, 2019, at the First United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall. The internment will follow the reception at 2:00 p.m. in Rison, Arkansas at Greenwood Cemetery.
Acknowledgements: The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to a special friend, Kay Wade and the staff at Trinity Village, who assisted with his care during his illness.
Arrangements were handled by Ralph Robinson and Son Funeral Directors (online register: www.ralphrobinsonandson.com).