Power couple made strong impact in community

Laura Garcia By Laura Garcia

Oct. 22, 2016 at 10:33 p.m.
Updated Oct. 23, 2016 at 6 a.m.

Ron and Kay Walker have been active in the community for many years. Improving education remains one of their biggest interests.

Ron and Kay Walker have been active in the community for many years. Improving education remains one of their biggest interests.   Bonnie Arbittier for The Victoria Advocate

For a couple who has long made a serious impact in the community, Ron and Kay Walker don't take themselves too seriously.

Kay, 64, is bubbly at times and loves a good practical joke.

Her husband Ron, 68, has a witty, dry sense of humor.

Together the couple, married 38 years, are working as a positive force in the Crossroads.

The Walkers will be honored at the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner for their philanthropy and many years of service in education and the arts.

The award will be presented Tuesday at the biennial Boy Scouts of America fundraiser, which benefits scouting programs in the South Texas Council.

As an extra treat, attendees can bid on two silent auction items. The top bidders will get a chance to speak at the podium about the Walkers.

Janey and Melvin Lack remember when the Walkers first moved to Victoria in the late 70s. They formed a dinner club that met once a month and eventually became close friends. Many times, they have ended up working together professionally.

Independently they both stand out as stars, Janey said of the couple.

Ronald B. Walker was born in Refugio from humble means. Over the years, he has built a strong reputation practicing law.

"He's a superb reader of people and their body language," Melvin said.

Ron serves as chair of the Victoria College Board of Trustees and is past president of Victoria Economic Development Corp. He's also director and treasurer of Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.

Born Kathryn C. Kerr, his wife grew up in Houston to a family of attorneys, studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, and was working as a translator at a Houston hospital when the pair first met.

"They're the best thing that ever happened to each other," the Lacks agreed.

That bond was tested this past year while Kay battled breast cancer for the second time.

Friends said she faces cancer with optimism and courage by channeling her energy into her many projects.

Her husband earned an honorary nursing certificate from Victoria College for taking care of Kay after her surgery, through cancer treatment and when she developed congestive heart failure.

"I was so limited in what I could do," she recalled. "It's been a long year."

Kay said her husband took good care of her.

"You do what you have to do," he said.

The day after the Boy Scouts dinner, she is scheduled to undergo another surgery.

Still, the Walkers said they have been extraordinarily blessed in their lives and luck has a lot to do with it.

Ron remembered that one day after college, he felt frustrated with his job and decided to apply for law school. It ended up being the last day to apply.

"If you can't be good, be lucky" is his favorite saying.

But luck only gets a person so far. The couple has proven they can be determined.

She remembered when she first moved to Victoria, it was a big change from living in Houston. She had a job interview with Janey and was hired to create a directory. She compiled information on all of the local nonprofits and agencies.

"In doing this booklet, I met all of these people," she said. That was when she started to realize that if she wanted more arts and culture in Victoria, she had to do her part to bring those museums in. She served as board president of the Victoria Regional Museum Association in the '80s.

"I'm not afraid to take on a new challenge or a new fundraiser," she said. "It doesn't bother me that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

But if you ask those close to Kay, her ideas usually work.

Aside from their shared love of gardening and world travel, the Walkers are passionate about improving education in Victoria.

"I think education would solve just about every problem we have," Ron said.

His wife added that education is something that can't be taken away from a person.

She served as a regent for the University of Houston System in the '90s.

The couple is also very proud of their own children for pursuing their education. Their daughter, Carter Walker Dugan, 35, named after Kay's sister, is a partner of an international law firm in Houston. Their son, Ronald Bruce Walker Jr., 32, is a financial adviser at a firm in San Antonio.

But perhaps, of all the various roles the Walkers have taken on, being grandparents has brought the most joy into their lives.

They have six grandchildren, and during the summer, they invite the older ones to Camp Reklaw, which is Walker spelled backward, for a fun and educational trip.

Inside their beautifully decorated Victoria home, during an interview, Kay picked up a book filled with photos from the last camp.

Nearby is an actual dancing broom with a witch's hat, and out front there are two striped witch's legs sticking out of a manicured shrub.

"She had a crash landing," Kay joked.

Later, she talked about the great pumpkin debacle. That was years ago, when she really went all out. Kay said she wanted to decorate the house by placing a huge inflatable pumpkin on the roof of their home.

She remembered the police called Ron at work while he was preparing for a big trial and asked him to come home.

A big crowd had formed in front of their house, and they needed him to turn the pumpkin off to help disperse the crowd.

Lately, Kay has toned down the holiday decor, but fun seasonal touches can still be seen throughout their home.

"There's a little bit of whimsy in this household," she said. "You don't want to be too serious."



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