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Richard Reuben Walkden

August 3, 1928 September 29, 2020
Richard Reuben Walkden
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Obituary for Richard Reuben Walkden

Richard Walkden of Columbia Station, was born August 3, 1928 in Berea and died after a brief illness on September 29 in Olmsted Falls. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Helen (Spitzer) Walkden; son, Kenny Lee; daughter, Kelly Sue Gulick (Matthew); two grandsons, Max and Andrew; and two sisters, Doris Keller; Ruth Palmer (Frank). He is pre-deceased by an infant son, Douglas Allen in 1963, and his parents, Reuben and Evelyn (Cartwright) Walkden. Richard Walkden loved Columbia Township. He spent most of his life in Columbia and dedicated his time and support to the township and its schools. In 2000 he started researching the history of Columbia Township; verifying facts; locating and copying photographs; and writing and rewriting the text that was to become “Historic Notes of Columbia and Eaton Townships, Lorain County, Ohio.” He expanded his study to include Eaton Township because that was where his wife, Helen Spitzer Walkden, grew up. Richard is a veteran, serving as a private in the U.S. Army, Infantry Division 1955-1957. The train carrying him to basic training in Colorado passed through Columbia Station. He later said it was the biggest test of his character to not jump off the train and run to his bride, Helen, his life as a farmer, and the future they dreamed together. Richard may be best remembered by Columbia residents for the unique tractor he crafted, an IH-480 with a Volkswagen beetle cab he modified and installed on the tractor. The driver’s door opened to allow entry, and the radio and windshield wipers really worked! Richard is a published author and songwriter. His poem, “Daddy’s Shoes” has been printed in several magazines. His song, “A Borrowed Tuxedo and a Hand-Me-Down Gown” is recorded in the Library of Congress. Throughout the years as a Columbia resident, he took action where and when it was needed. Richard wrote dozens of letters to government officials to address situations that needed to be changed such as township drainage issues; to encourage thoughtful future planning and development; and to urge wise use of public funds. When a road-straightening project caused removal of the stately tree at the intersection of Royalton Road and West River Road, he and Helen arranged for a replacement; the crimson maple tree was dedicated to the six generations of Walkden families who helped build, attended, and had their funerals in the “church on the corner”. One of Richard’s joys especially during the 1970’s, was to attend Columbia High School basketball games. His deep, booming voice could be heard over the crowd persuading the referees to acknowledge, “Basket good!” Richard had been a player on the CHS basketball team that named “Columbia Raiders” in honor of Clark Rader, the team’s coach. There was no school transport to games so Richard drove his father’s farm truck, using precious rationed gas, to take several team members to their games at nearby high schools. Richard played on the school’s first baseball team. Home games were played on what is now the football field, with home plate toward Royalton Road. He was a strong farm boy who often hit home runs. The school yearbook recorded that the ball would “soar up the hill” (to where the current high school building sits). Before play could resume, he and his teammates had to search in the grassy field to find the one good game ball. Richard and Helen loved to travel. One of the most memorable trips was to Walkden, England to visit family there and tour the area. But his favorite part of traveling was to return home. He would fire up the car with the “COL STA” license plates and tour the township, noting new homes and businesses, and observing the crop conditions. To encourage others to support Columbia Township, Richard and Helen became charter members of the Columbia Community Foundation. He asked that for his funeral, instead of flowers, donations be made to the Columbia Community Foundation, P.O. Box 567, Columbia Station, Ohio 44028. Those funds, through grants and scholarships, will be used to expand programming that welcomes new families and businesses, supports continued education for local youth, and promotes a sense of community. The Celebration of Life will be at the social hall of VFW Post #9340, 25742 Royalton Road, Columbia Station on Sun., Oct. 4, at 1:00-3:00 and 5:00-7:00 and on Mon., Oct. 5 at 10:00 AM. The funeral service, officiated by Pastor Phil Betts of Columbia Baptist Church, will be at 11:00 AM. The family encourages folks to celebrate Richard’s long, full life by sharing stories of how Richard touched their lives and to review the 30-plus scrapbooks he and Helen created over the years, reflecting his love of family, friends, and the community. There will be a brief grave-side service at the (old) Columbia Cemetery, 13801 W. River Road by Pastor David Chafin of North Eaton Christian Church. Richard’s grandson, Max Gulick, will play “Taps” during the military honors, provided by VFW Post #1079. Arrangements were entrusted to the Laubenthal-Mercado Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Elyria, 440-322-4626. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.laubenthalmercado.com.

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Previous Events

Visitation

Sunday

4

Oct

1:00 PM 10/4/2020 1:00:00 PM - 3:00 PM 10/4/2020 3:00:00 PM
VFW post 9340

25742 Royalton Road
Columbia Station, OH 44028

Additional Visitation 5:00-7:00 PM Sunday, October 4, & 10:00 AM Monday, October 5, with a service at 11:00 AM

VFW post 9340
25742 Royalton Road Columbia Station 44028 OH
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Columbia Township Cemetery Final Resting Place

West River Rd.
Columbia Township, OH 44028

West River Rd. Columbia Township 44028 OH
United States

Memorial Contribution

Columbia Community Foundation P.O. Box 567 Columbia Station, Ohio 44028

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