Editor, The Times:
I worked with Sam Walker for many years at the railroad and we had many things in common.
We both had pacemakers, we were both born on September 26th and I think we both enjoyed talking to each other about just about anything. When one of my Satilla River pictures won the Georgia Council for the Arts contest in 2017, Sam was the first one that I invited to ride with me to meet the Governor in his Atlanta office where the picture would remain for six months.
Sam and I talked often either at work or on the phone and there was always a quote that we would both do and that was “How big is it?” and the other always responded “BIG” and then we would tell each other the latest news that we had heard.
I was working with him several years ago and as we walked to clock out he had to stop and sit down. He was sweating bad and I asked him if he was ok as I waited on him. He finally talked me into leaving him and the next day I found out he had a heart attack and was out of work several weeks. A few years ago October 1, he finally retired after 41 years of service and I hated to see him go, but I was also glad for him. On the same day of his anniversary, I believe it was five years later, he was using his tractor with a bush hog on his farm and hit the guy wire that pulled the pole down on top of him. It almost killed him. He was able to gradually come back from this major set back and we still talked, but not near as often.
It was so hard when he would get emotional and tell me that he was scared. After being in the hospital for about the past month with hernia surgery and then catching pneumonia, my old friend passed away.
I received a call Saturday and when I looked at who was calling it said SAM WALKER. I was actually scared to answer it and when I did it was his wife Gail using Sam’s phone to ask if I would be an honorary pallbearer at his funeral service on Sunday. She said Sam thought the world of me and would appreciate it if I could do it. I told her I felt the same way about him and I would be glad to see my old friend and tell him bye one last time.
I know the past couple of years has been tough on him and all of his family, but he does not have to suffer any more. Like Sam and I would say “How big is it?” “It is BIG!”