Walker had served as mayor of the Town of Clyde for 13 years; prior to that, he served as alderman for 24, and prior to that he served on the town’s planning board for three years.
A lifelong resident of Clyde who worked for 42 years at the Canton paper mill under its various ownerships, Walker — an Air Force veteran, active churchgoer and spouse to wife Joann for 56 years — has an obituary that reads like a the road map of a life well-lived.
“Mr. Jerry Walker was one of the most honorable men I have ever had the pleasure to know,” said friend Robbie Inman, who is also the director of the Haywood County Board of Elections.
Walker’s passing comes almost exactly in the middle of his four-year term as mayor; soon, aldermen will begin to consider who will serve in that position for the next two years.
The town’s next regularly scheduled meeting will take place on Nov. 9, where Town Administrator Joy Garland says aldermen may or may not decide to appoint someone to serve out the remainder of Walker’s term, which lasts until late 2020.
“We do have someone serving as acting mayor [Mayor Pro Tem Jim Trantham], but the meeting on Nov. 9 will probably be a good time to see which direction they plan to go with this,” Garland said.
Inman said that while there’s no real requirement that aldermen appoint someone in a hurry — or at all — he expects it will eventually happen.
“For two years, they can continue under a mayor pro tem, but it is customary and I am confident that they will, after this election is over, they will determine amongst themselves how best to proceed,” he said.
It’s also possible that the town will take no action on the matter Nov. 9 to allow for a more extended period of mourning. Walker was laid to rest Nov. 3.