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Unexpectedly yet peacefully, on Monday, February 12th, James Stuart Walker passed away in his sleep. Having endured health challenges related to Parkinson’s Disease, his graceful passing was a gift, one only surpassed by the power of the life and love he shared.

Jim was born in Framingham, MA on November 24,1942. Welcomed with joy to their family’s home at 33 Berry Street, Jim’s parents Walter William Walker and Marjorie Bullard Walker, and sister Judith (married name Richardson), nurtured his future community engagement. “Checker Champion of the Anna Murphy Playground,” an attendant at The Lake Waushakum bath house, star athlete and captain of the town’s varsity football and baseball teams, and a leader of Framingham High School’s Class of 1960, Jim loved his town and the opportunities extended.

In 1964, Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University. This was followed by a Master’s Degree from Boston University in 1966. There, Jim met his soon-to-be wife, Carole Ann Grossnickle, whom he married in 1967.

The Vietnam War introduced Jim to the armed forces. After Officer Candidate School, Jim served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Despite his navigational challenges, Jim was charged with leading transportation units. Recognized with several military honors including a Bronze Star Medal of Valor, Jim’s greatest military achievement was earning the respect and appreciation of the men who served under his leadership.

Jim returned from the army to Ashland, MA, to raise a family with Carole, to foster friendships with neighbors on Ramblewood Drive, and to serve the Framingham community through a career in education. For more than two decades Jim proudly taught 8th grade social studies at Walsh Middle School and coached freshman football and JV lacrosse at Framingham South High School.

After Carole’s passing in 2001, Jim felt enormously blessed to reconnect with Ellen Veronica Bell (nee McDevitt), a former schoolmate from Framingham High School and colleague in the Framingham School System. He was quick to fall in love with both Ellen and her adult children. Surrounded by their families and numerous friends, Jim and Ellen were joyously wed in 2003.

It is said that the measure of a man’s life is the quality of relationships he has with others. Every day Jim gave thanks for the joy that friends, family, neighbors, and former students and athletes brought to his life. He is survived by his wife, Ellen; children, Brad Walker, Suzanne Walker Buck, Nick Bell, Kathleen Bell, Kristen Bell; their respective partners and spouses Dinneen Walker, Johnny Buck, Elena Bell, Robert Lombardo, Scott Madden; grandchildren Halsey Buck, Nina Buck, Oliver Buck, Sean Walker, Bridget Walker, Isabel Walker, Nicholas Bell, Ocean Lombardo; grand dogs Mitchell and River, nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors, and numerous former mentees whose lives he positively impacted.

To Jim, family was everything. He loved his children more than words could convey, and yet it never stopped him from trying. Sharing the accomplishments of those he loved was done with alacrity, never boastful, merely an expression of pure joy. In addition to family, Jim loved sports, intellectual pursuits, food (he would claim his plate was always smaller than everyone else’s, therefore needing a second helping), storytelling, Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, and fostering goodness for others. He was humble, sensitive, funny, and personified decency. Always a teacher, Jim embodied the practice of living a life of meaning.

Family and friends will honor and remember Jim’s life by gathering for visiting hours in the McCarthy, McKinney & Lawler Funeral Home, 11 Lincoln St. Framingham, on Thursday February 15th from 4-8PM. His Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday morning in St. Matthew Church, 26 Highland St., Southborough at 10 o’clock. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for the consideration of gifts to The Parkinson’s Foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, The Foundation Fighting Blindness, or the charity of one’s choice.

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