Ralph Walker (1915-2011) & Mitchell Miles Walker (1918-2011) were born and raised on farms about 3 miles apart in the Marysville area of Campbell County, Virginia. They came of age during the Great Depression and married in 1940. Both remembered vividly the hard economic times that characterized their youth. Ralph at one point as a young man sold his personal automobile in order to save his parents' home and farm. Mitchell remembered an endless stream of hoboes coming to her mother's kitchen door for a meal (they lived near a train station with a permanent hobo camp), and that no one was ever turned away hungry. Her mother took steps to feed them and to protect their dignity by allowing them to find some chore to do around the farmstead, even unnecessary ones.
Ralph received minimal formal education, but rose through the ranks at a local textile plant to become a department manager; he had tremendous mechanical aptitude. Mitchell graduated from high school and business college and spent the bulk of her working career in banking. Following their marriage in 1940, they made their home in Altavista, Virginia where they were members of the Lane Memorial United Methodist Church.
After seventy years of marriage, Mitchell and Ralph died one week apart. Their wills provided that the bulk of their estate was to be left to charitable trusts to provide for the educational and housing needs of residents of southern Campbell and northern Pittsylvania Counties, Virginia.
The next scholarship period will open December 1, 2020.