Lee Dudley Walker

July 20, 1930January 12, 2021

Lee Dudley Walker of Martinsville, VA, passed away peacefully on Tuesday January 12, 2021. He was born July 20, 1930 in Martinsville, the son of Virginia Dudley and Samuel Stanhope Walker. Walker graduated as Valedictorian of Martinsville High School in 1947 at the age of 16, while also attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. In 1948, he received a post-graduate certificate from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia and entered North Carolina State University in the fall of that year. At N.C. State, Walker was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma and Sigma Tau Sigma honor fraternities and was President of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He served in the ROTC becoming Cadet Regimental Adjutant. He received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Army upon his graduation with a B.S. Degree in Textile Engineering in 1952.

Walker served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954, assigned to the Armed Services Textile and Apparel Procurement Agency in New York City. There he was in charge of procurement of all of the footwear for all the armed services. He was mustered out in 1954 as a 1st Lieutenant.

Returning to Martinsville in 1954, Walker began working at Walker Knitting Co., which later merged into Bassett-Walker, Inc. He became President and CEO of Bassett-Walker in 1960, and in 1962 was also named Chairman. Bassett-Walker was merged into The VF Corporation in 1984, and he became Chairman, Knitwear for VF. He retired in 1986.

Walker is a former director of Bassett-Walker Inc., SunTrust Bank, VF Corporation, and Hooker Furniture Corporation. His former trusteeships include the Virginia Historical Society, American Battlefield Trust, and Broad Street Christian Church. He was a Founding Trustee of Carlisle School and made philanthropy a priority of his life.

The Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce bestowed its highest honor on Walker when it presented him with the Heck Ford Award in 1990. In 2002 he received The Pillar Award from the Martinsville/Henry County Economic Development Council for his “Lifetime Contributions to the Martinsville-Henry County Business Community.” He remained an ardent supporter of the community throughout his life.

Outside of his achievements in the classroom, his community, and in business, Walker had a deep passion for history, travel, and his family. His love of history was reflected in his expertise in American military history, his involvement in the Monticello Cabinet, and his memberships in the Society of the Cincinnati and the Sons of the American Revolution.

Walker was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Elizabeth Dudley Walker. Walker is survived by his bride of 65 years, Elizabeth Mitchell Walker; son Samuel Stanhope Walker II and his wife Janice Meredith Walker; daughter Virginia Walker Hamlet and her husband Burgess Harrison Hamlet III; daughter Anne Walker Poole and her husband Walker Lynch Poole; grandchildren Andrew Linwood Shelton, Blake Thomas Walker, Harrison Walker Hamlet, Lee Dudley Hamlet, Mitchell Hudson Hamlet, Walker Lynch Poole, Jr., Virginia Buchanan Poole, and Elizabeth Weaver Poole; sister Spotswood Walker Box, as well as nieces and nephews.

A private service will be held at Oakwood Cemetery where Walker will be laid to rest at the foot of his father.

Memorials may be made to Carlisle School at PO Box 5388, Martinsville, VA 24115, or to Broad St. Christian Church at 106 Broad St., Martinsville, VA 24112.


  • Samuel Stanhope Walker, Father (deceased)
  • Virginia Dudley Walker, Mother (deceased)
  • Elizabeth Dudley Walker, Daughter (deceased)
  • Elizabeth Mitchell Walker, Bride of 65 years
  • Samuel Stanhope Walker II, Son
  • Janice Meredith Walker, Daughter-in-law
  • Virginia Walker Hamlett, Daughter
  • Burgess Harrison Hamlet III, Son-in-law
  • Anne Walker Poole, Daughter
  • Walker Lynch Poole, Son-in-law
  • Andrew Linwood Shelton, Grandson
  • Blake Thomas Walker, Grandson
  • Harrison Walker Hamlet, Grandson
  • Lee Dudley Hamlet, Grandson
  • Mitchell Hudson Hamlet, Grandson
  • Walker Lunch Poole, Jr., Grandson
  • Virginia Buchanan Poole, Granddaughter
  • Elizabeth Weaver Poole, Granddaughter
  • Spotswood Walker Box, Sister
  • Mr. Walker also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews.

  • Burgess Harrison Hamlet III, Active
  • Harrison Walker Hamlet, Active
  • Lee Dudley Hamlet, Active
  • Mitchell Hudson Hamlet, Active
  • Walker Lynch Poole, Active
  • Walker Lynch Poole, Jr., Active
  • Yesid Mosquera-Perea, Active
  • Andrew Linwood Shelton, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Blake Thomas Walker, Honorary Pallbearer

  • Carlisle School
  • Broad Street Christian Church


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Lee Dudley Walker

have a memory or condolence to add?

Debra Anderson

January 18, 2021

I worked at Bassett-Walker in the 1980's. Mr. Walker was a kind and pleasant man who greeted you with a smile. My condolences to his family.

Timothy Downey

January 16, 2021

Mr. Walker was a tall, kind, and loving man. I knew of Mr. Walker cause of his daughter Anne who was in my class and I knew the older sister of Anne, Virginia. I would see Mr. Walker at all of our class's plays and speeches we had during the years. We had many of them. I saw him at the Carlisle Spring Fair too. He was always smiling. I was in first grade till ninth grade at Carlisle. To be continued...

Lelliar Gravely

January 16, 2021

Sending prayers and love to the family Virginia and Butch sorry for you loss. He had a great life keep his beautiful memories alive. 🙏🏽❤


January 15, 2021

One of the nicest man i ever met.I worked at Bassett Walker and he cared for each and every one who worked for him.He will be sadly missed.Rest in Peace!

Sabrina Gould

January 15, 2021

I'm not sure who will read this, but I felt it was important to share none the less. You don't know me and unfortunately, I never met Mr. Walker, but I wanted to share this story with his family to give a little bit of happiness to this very difficult time. My name is Sabrina and I am in my first year of university, for the first time in my life I'm away from my parents. Before this, I'd never even left my hometown without them. However, one thing that gives me comfort and makes me proud, and gives me strength when I am sad is the sweatshirt my mother wore when she went through this very same thing. Her Bassett-Walker sweatshirt. Today I happened to be wearing it and I considered something I'd never even thought of before; where did it come from? After about an hour of researching, I found Mr. Walker's company, and when I discovered he had recently passed I knew I had to reach out. I wouldn't really consider myself a superstitious person, but my mother always told me things happen for a reason. I wanted to share this story so that you know that Mr. Walker's legacy lives on and that his accomplishments in life continue to bring joy and comfort to future generations. Thank you

Cassie Stockton Perry

January 15, 2021

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. May he Rest In Peace. May his soul and the souls of the dearly departed, by the mercy of God, Rest In Peace

Mary Lou Yeatts

January 15, 2021

To Virginia and her family. Sending prayers at this very difficult time. A life well lived and did so much for so many.

Betty Rorrer Peal

January 14, 2021

Condolences to the Walker Family.
Mr. Walker was one of the nicest men that I ever had the pleasure of working with at Bassett-Walker over my tenure of 37 years. His kindness and generosity was impeccable and he was a fine example of a great man.

Shirley H. Bowles

January 14, 2021

My love and prayers go out to your beautiful Family at this time.Mr Walker was a wonderful man inside and out!Barry had great respect for him and always enjoyed their conversations!

Lisa Pearman

January 14, 2021

I had the privilege of knowing and working with Mr. Walker. He was a very kind and caring person. He would always speak and always had something positive to say. He cared a deal for all of his employees. He was very well respected. To the Walker family, he will be greatly missed. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.