T. Urling Walker, former Watertown mayor, dies at 97

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 1:24 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Former Watertown Mayor T. Urling “Tom” Walker has died.

Walker passed away Tuesday morning at home under the care of Hospice of Jefferson County, which he and his late wife helped create.

He was 97.

Walker was mayor for two four-year terms, serving from 1983 to 1991, including during the expansion of Fort Drum.

He also served as interim city manager from September 1994 to December 1995.

Walker lived by the principles of family, God and country.

A World War II veteran, he served as an Army Air Corps chief on a B-24 Liberator in the Japanese islands.

An Eagle Scout by age 13, Walker was a lifetime supporter of the Boy Scouts.

His wife, Mabel Walker, died in December 2020.

Together, the couple spread their philanthropy throughout the community. Samaritan Medical Center dedicated its Walker Center For Cancer Care to them in September 2018.

Both were involved in many community organizations.

“In my opinion, God’s greatest gift to the north country and Watertown was Tom Walker,” said friend Joe Rich. “Now, he’s with Mabel.”

Rich ate lunch with Tom once or twice a week, which often was politely interrupted as community members would stop and say hi. Walker made time for everyone.

“Someone could walk up to him, and he’d treat them like they were important people. He had that way about him, to make everyone feel important,” said Rich.

And that’s exactly how he made Rich feel as they said goodbye at their last lunch just a few weeks ago.

“He said, ‘Joe, I’m not going to make it very much longer. But I want you to know, you’re one of my best friends.’ And it really, yeah, I’ll miss him greatly.”