was born in
Deland, Florida on January 16, 1922 to the parents of Clyde and Alma
(Black) Walker. Three years after his birth Clyde's father died leaving
mother with four small children. The family had moved to Umitilla a
couple of months before his fathers untimely death. Now his mother was
forced to return to her home in Crystal River, where she quickly
married an older man known to the family. She needed to
for her children.
Clyde was raised by his step-father in Crystal River where he learned the family business of commercial fishing that spanned three generations. When he was twelve years old his step-father suddenly died from a ruptured appendix. Clyde lost the stability of a father figure once again. He had to grow up fast. He turned to his grandfather who some say encouraged him to drink. A device he found comforting in times of stress.
He married at the age of nineteen to Ruby Cope. Their first child was stillborn. After the birth of his second child, the war came along and Clyde entered the Army. He was sent oversees. An emergency leave of absence was granted when his younger brother was suddenly killed in a tragic accident at the age of seventeen. A short time later he had to return home on another emergency. His wife had abandoned their baby on his mothers doorsteps. She had fled town with another man. He had legal papers drawn up placing his child into his mothers care and quickly returned to the war.
The war now over, Clyde returned home, but soon his only surviving brother died from a severe lung disease that took his life the day after Christmas. Each blow his emotions were dealt, the more Clyde closed himself off from the hurt. He started blaming God for all his sorrows and through the years he said some pretty awful things to God. He turned to that old familiar stress reducer, "Alcohol". It was the only way he could deal with the losses in his life. He became a functioning alcoholic. He worked every day and although he drank some everyday, when the weekend came around, it was a totally different situation. The built up anger and hurt came pouring out...the alcohol acting like a release valve on a pressure cooker. It was the only time he showed emotion!
Clyde married Alice Jones and had three more children. His first wife however, remained the love of his life. Their child together was still being raised by his mother. He and Alice, made a good life together. She was able to make it through those terrible weekends, awaiting it's arrival...filled with dread. They built their home in Tarpon Springs one room at a time with their bare hands, just the two of them.
After their marriage Clyde and Alice lived on the east coast for a time where he engaged in the fishing industry. Before that he had worked on a golf course. Through the years Clyde altered between working as a greens keeper at a golf course and commercial fishing, eventually settling as a greens keeper. He became the greens superintendent on several golf courses, including the Tarpon Springs Golf Course, the Rocky Point Golf Course and the Safety Harbor Golf Course.
A son committed suicide as a young man. He was in an institution at the time. The blows just kept coming for Clyde. His wife and daughter went to bring his body home. He himself was unable to deal with it, leaving the responsibility to them. Perhaps due to anger, but for whatever reasoning behind it, his wife buried their son in the city where he died. No one was notified! For Clyde there was no closure.
Clyde D. Walker died February 19, 1997 at Bay Pines Veteran's Hospital. His ashes were scattered over the Gulf of Mexico.
On A Personal Note:
As his health slipped away I was able to spend lots of quality time with my uncle, who the family referred to as "Tinker." He had stopped drinking. The last couple of years we talked a lot about the Lord and I am convinced he forgave God the hurts he encountered along the way. I also know that God understood those hurts and never held it against him.
Author: Linda Flowers