Obituary – William Walker – Portland Press Herald
William Samuel Walker, 62, of Kennebunk, died of pancreatic cancer on February 24, 2022. He didn’t want to go.
William is survived by his beloved ‘heart’ Laura Butterworth, his children Janara Alfano, Chiara Richardson and Sasha Johnson, his sisters Clara Walker Cummings and nephews Ernest Walker and Wayne Cummings, Shirley Walker and nephew Jalil Walker and aunts Cora Taylor, Alethia Taylor, Gladys Taylor and many cousins.
He was predeceased by his parents Clara Naomi Walker and Robert Samuel Walker and his brother Edward Walker.
He was born in Southwest Philadelphia on August 3, 1959, and lived in the Tasker Home Projects before moving to 51st Street. His neighborhood had terraced houses and a street that regularly saw games, frequent use of the “water intake”, and loud talk between porches.
William attended James Alcorn Primary School, Tilden Middle School and Bartram High School and after school he could be found swimming, boxing or playing basketball at the Kingsessing Recreation Center. He won numerous trophies for his basketball skills and quickly traveled from court to court in search of a challenge. William was part of Boy Scout Troop 189 along with his friends and cousins. He was a member of the Christian Union Church where he sang in the choir. He was recruited to sing with the Philadelphia Boys Choir.
In 1977, after graduating from high school at the age of 17, he joined the United States Air Force. William loved basic training. During this time he got married and had his first child, Janara. He thrived as a father, working his way up to staff sergeant, attending the University of South Carolina leadership school and playing basketball for the Air Force team . He was stationed at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Osan Air Force Base in South Korea, Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, and Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire, which eventually brought him to Maine.
William took early retirement when Pease Air Force Base closed and enjoyed working on bicycle patrol as a reserve Kennebunk Police officer; in particular his daily patrol of Parson’s Beach where he learned about seabirds and began his life’s passionate work as a photographer. He was a family man, taking his daughters Chiara and Sasha to Big Daddy’s for ice cream and sharing his love of Eagles football. It was around this time that he began working with the Kennebunk Recreation Department overseeing its teen center.
William was well known in his community as a school crossing guard for elementary and secondary school. He learned to recognize regular commuters and students and had a special hand sign for each; ‘thumbs up’, ‘slow down’, ‘you’re late’, ‘nice jump shot’, ‘seat belt’ and ‘helmet!’ He stood on Fletcher Street outside Kennebunk High School, directing traffic for 26 years.
Community service was a priority and he put in many hours coaching athletics, flag football and accompanying trips. He was an expert statistician, keeping clocks and timesheets at college and high school sporting events.
William was the head coach of the Kennebunk Track Club and the college track team. He specialized in teaching the high jump and the relay. He invented a game of ‘tag’ to strengthen his runners; the fastest boy runs, the girls chase him. The fastest girl runs, the boys chase her.
In 2004, he received the Amos McCallum Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Kennebunk student/athlete. In 2017, the Kennebunk High School yearbook was dedicated to him.
In 2010, William and Laura created an artist collaboration called Other Nice People which they filed to “shed light on the good” through illustration through poetry, photography and watercolor. They traveled from Maine to California and back, giving Other Nice People stickers to people they had good encounters with and recording their stories in a book called “Another Day In Da Hood” by Po and Op. William recounted and Laura wrote it.
They also worked together on real estate transactions with Butterworth Real Estate Brokerage which included property and garden management. They both worked in the Teen Extreme Program, After School Adventures and enjoyed flying together for aerial photography. William has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and in the 2017 Huffpost.com “Just Another Love Story This Is Not” by his friend Rumni Saha.
In 2021, after 11 years of preparation, William retires and they buy a rooftop tent and go to visit all the national parks in the United States. After three months of adventures, they returned home to pack up for Alaska.
Suddenly, in June, William fell ill and was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Laura, her family, children and neighbors supported her final days.
William made the world a better place with his care and his smile. He was loud and larger than life and his laughter was contagious. He will be deeply missed.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to lastprisonerproject.org.