Lee Funeral Home

11840 Highway 90, Little River, SC


Deborah Walker

August 3, 1953May 28, 2020
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Little River, SC / Franklin, MA

Deborah Jeanne (Schaal) Walker passed away Thursday May 28th, 2020 due to an ongoing heart condition. She was born on August 3rd, 1953 in San Francisco, CA at the Presidio in the Letterman Army Hospital to William Schaal and Gladys Schaal.

Deborah attended Murray State University in Kentucky for her Undergraduate and Master’s degrees in English and Guidance Counselling, respectively. She was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority along with her sister Karen.

In August 1990 Deborah married her loving husband Michael Anthony Walker-Jones, and they had two beautiful and talented daughters; Shani Rhiannon Walker and Kristen Nicole Walker.

Deborah radiated a passion for education. She enjoyed teaching middle school and high school English and yearbook in Paducah, Kentucky and Little Rock, Arkansas.

As Director of Educator Recognition Programs for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, from 1993-2018, Deborah was revered as a mentor and friend to a multitude of teachers who were recognized in the State and National Teacher of the Year awards, Milken Educator Awards and various other awards that appreciated and memorialized the excellence, hard work and dedication of educators.

Deborah was an avid reader of Stephen King, she loved murder mysteries and early American history. Deborah relished in studying the life and times of George Washington and the Founding Fathers & Founding Mothers. Most of all, Deborah loved the Harry Potter universe of books, movies and theme parks!

She was a staunch New England Patriots fan beyond all reason.

Deborah enjoyed felines of all types and most recently lavished a life of luxury upon her house cats Dax and Winnie.

Deborah adored her family and without question devoted her unconditional love and attention to being a wife to Michael Walker-Jones of Franklin, MA; a mother to Shani Walker & her husband Edward Barnes of Douglas, MA and to Kristen Walker & her significant other Michael Derose of Hubbardston, MA; a daughter to William & Gladys Schaal of Washington, IL; a sister to Karen Schaal of Washington, IL and Melanie Smet & her husband John Smet of Eureka, IL; step-mother to Michael “Tony” Jones II of Los Angeles, CA and to Erika Jones Crawford & her husband Alex Crawford of Los Angeles, CA; an “East Coast Mom” to Diane Snow & her husband Lincoln Snow of Upton, MA; and a grandparent to David Jones of Chicago, IL and Parker Snow & Jacob Snow of Upton, MA.

A virtual on-line Celebration of Life will be held for Deborah on July 11th at 11:30 AM.

Registration (guest book) and information regarding how to participate can be found on the Lee Funeral Home of Little River, South Carolina website: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/little-river-sc/deborah-walker-9203540.

Expressions of condolences and reflections of friendship should be sent directly to Michael at 80 Miller St., Franklin, MA 02038 or to Michael, Shani & Kristen (shaniwa1004@gmail.com).

Acts of kindness in lieu of flowers should be made in honor of Deborah to the American Heart Association.

A guestbook is available at www.leefhandcrematory.com.

Lee Funeral Home & Crematory of Little River/North Myrtle Beach is serving the family.


  • Celebration of Life Service

    Saturday, July 11, 2020


Deborah Walker

have a memory or condolence to add?

Simone Lynch

July 9, 2020

Rest in peace my friend. I will forever hold on to the many memories we have had at DESE. You're one of a kind. Always welcoming, taking care of others and an awesome cook. Right now, I'm picturing your beautiful smile, I'm hearing your contagious laughter and I will cherish our many aha moments we've shared. Thank you for being a wonderful friend and colleague. You're an angel. Missing you so much.

Aziz Quamina

July 6, 2020

Family, so sorry for your loss, I Remember Love coming to your house for every holiday and summer breaks, so much fun because of you guys but especially because of Aunt Deb she was always smiling and organizing things for us kids to do, miss you Auntie, your favorite. Aziz

Annette Thomas-Jones

June 25, 2020

Michael and family praying and sending our love to you from Arkansas. What a blessing to have known your beautiful Wife and Mom.

Barbara Evans

June 21, 2020

We were so sorry to get this sad news and pray God will surround the family with His comfort and strength.

We love you, Shani, Kristen and your family.
Charles and Barbara

Lee Barrios

June 15, 2020

So sorry Michael. My deepest condolences for your loss. Miss you here.

Claudia Bach

June 11, 2020

Oh, such sad news. First, I knew Michael, and we did some good work together. Then at DESE, I met Deb. I marveled at how beautifully she organized the Teacher of the Year Award event, with such a careful process for selecting the teacher, for putting together the most lovely ceremony, and for continuing to keep in touch with all those great teachers over the years. They were like her children; she didn't forget a name, and she delighted in all their achievements. No question how much she loved her dear husband, Michael, and her two beautiful daughters. Her eyes always lit up when she spoke of them, and misted over when she was separated from them. She was a great mother and wife. She was a beautiful soul, and we all are better for having known her, and now more impoverished with her absence from our lives.

Andre Badgett

June 9, 2020

She was such a beautiful lady. She was always kind and welcoming. Whenever I printed her "Teacher of the year" awards she would show her appreciation by making me a dish of her famous "mac n cheese". I will miss seeing her outside the building shaking her head at me saying "Will this New England weather get it together?" Thank You for being so nice to me all of these years you will truly be missed.

Dorine Levasseur

June 7, 2020

My deepest sympathy to all of you, Michael, Shani and Kristen. May all the love and memories you hold for Deborah carry you through.
Love, Dorine

Faye Johnson

June 5, 2020

RIP my friend Deb Walker. Sure was sad to receive this news and realize our fun conversations will be put on hold. Prayers and condolences to your family you loved with every being of your soul.
DESE friend.

David Driscoll

June 5, 2020

If you look at an org chart at the Massachusetts Department of Education, it would appear that Deborah worked for me. The truth is it was an 80 -20 formula. 80% of the time we worked as colleagues and 20% of the time I would simply say “yes, Deborah, whatever you say”. Her resume indicates she was in charge of teacher/educator recognition programs. But that does not tell the story. DEBORAH came up with the idea that we would help celebrate educators that were honored and join in the celebration. However, unlike any other State, she decided that after they got their award, she would find a way to bring them into our work. Very creative - we wound up with a small army of exceptional educators who served on committees, gave us advice and supported our programs. This was typical Deborah - bring everyone together for the greater cause.
One of the highlights of my wife Kathy and my social schedule was the Kentucky Derby annual celebration. Not only fun, great drinks and way too much food. Way more important than all that was a group of very diverse people, kids, couples, grandparents, college grads, black, white Hispanic, Asian, mixed, who cares. ALL became friends after the race was run (and some people made money on the bets - like $20). This was Michael and Deborah. What you see if what you get and you will like it because it is pure caring for others. I have been heartbroken since Michael called me (and we have our own very special relationship - personally, and professionally. Some day the history books will figure out why we never had any teacher strikes during my time as Commissioner.
My heart goes out to Shani and Kristen who I got to meet when they were young and watched them grow into special adults. Deborah Walker was special but the LAST thing she ever sought was recognition for herself. She just liked to build everyone else up and she did that better than anyone I know.