William A Walker
October 14, 1934 – January 7, 2021
William Aloysius Walker, Jr. Celebration of Life
William (Bill) Aloysius Walker, Jr., age 86 of San Antonio, Texas, died peacefully on January 7th, 2021. He was born on October 14th, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois and is survived by his wife of 33 years Karen Seiler Walker.
Bill was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois through the 8th grade. As a young Chicagoan and baseball fan, Bill developed a love for the Cubs. After the 8th grade, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Christian Brothers High School where he excelled in basketball and golf. After high school, he joined the Army during the Korean War and served as a clerk at the SHAPE NATO headquarters in Fontainebleau, France.
After military service, he married Susan Tharp Walker in 1958 and attended the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated from Memphis State with a B.S. degree in Physical Education / Education in 1962. Then, Bill’s coaching career started with a position as swim coach with the Jewish Community Center in Memphis and was instrumental in building their swim program.
In 1967, he coached high school basketball in Mercedes, Texas. In 1968, he coached and developed the AAU Harlingen Swim Team while also coaching at the Marine Military Academy and Harlingen High School. A proud moment as a swim coach was the AAU swim team finishing 3rd in the TAGS state championship meet with his swimmers from Harlingen, which was unprecedented for such a small team to finish that high in the team standings!
In 1970, he joined San Antonio’s North East Independent School District (NEISD) as Aquatics Coordinator and head swim coach over all of the NEISD high schools. He was also head swim coach for the AAU San Antonio Aquatic Club (SAAC), and used his passion to develop the Learn to Swim program for all 3rd graders in the school district.
In 1976, he moved to McAllen where he was given the same responsibilities as his previous duties in San Antonio. He was able to continue with his passion of teaching children to swim while he was head swim coach at McAllen High School and head swim coach for the AAU McAllen Swim Club. He had many fond memories of his time coaching in the Rio Grande Valley and loved the people and living in that part of Texas.
Returning to San Antonio in 1982, he resumed his previous duties as Aquatics Coordinator for NEISD until he retired in 2001. Bill earned many, many awards including Coach of the Year several times. He was very proud to have taught more than 300,000 children how to swim through the Swim America program. Along with the people he encountered in his career, his greatest honor and legacy is the Bill Walker Pool at NEISD in San Antonio.
Bill loved playing cards, especially duplicate bridge and became a Life Master at age 29, and eventually Emerald Life Master.
Bill volunteered at the Bexar County Jail for many years, teaching Centering Prayer and leading AA 12 Step Meetings - as he proudly celebrated 35 years of sobriety himself.
He is survived by his wife Karen Seiler Walker, sister Jean Kopsky, sister-in-law Mary Jo Walker and former wife Susan Tharp Walker. His surviving children by Susan Tharp Walker are Christy Walker, Gregg Walker, Randy Walker, Sabra Walker Nelson, Sean Walker and Chip Walker; daughters-in-law Chris Walker, Elizabeth Walker and Sue Donarski Walker; son-in-law Daniel Nelson; grandchildren Jake Walker, Becky Walker, Evan Walker, Bailey Walker, Ella Nelson, Zachary Hall and Madison Hall; great grandchildren Luke Walker and Blake Walker. His surviving step-children are GK Parish-Philp, Stephen Philp and Dana Schmit, and 6 grandchildren.He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his father William A. Walker, Sr. and mother Catherine Bracken Walker; brother John B. Walker and sister Joan Walker Lee; brothers-in-law Boyd J. Lee II and John Kopsky. Bill will be dearly missed by his family and friends. He treasured all of the people he met and knew both personally and professionally.
Bill will be buried with military honors at Fort Sam Houston. We are planning graveside and church services in February but due to COVID-19 the services will be limited to immediate family members. We plan to have a memorial service in the Summer or Fall of this year, when it is safe for everyone to travel and gather.
In lieu of flowers, you may send donations in honor of Bill Walker to USA Swimming Foundation: https://www.usaswimming.org/foundation Please leave your memories online and get updates about the memorial service here: https://everloved.com/life-of/william-walker-jr/
God, grant me the Serenity To accept the things I cannot change... Courage to change the things I can, And Wisdom to know the difference. Amen
Graveside Memorial Service
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Ft Sam Houston National Cemetery
William A Walker
January 20, 2021
Bill was a mentor and role model to me. I learned many drills from him as well as insight on setting up a plan for the swim season. He exemplified discipline and perseverance as well. He is the father of San Antonio swimming. May he rest in peace.
January 17, 2021
I knew Coach Walker during his days in Harlingen when I was a young swimmer. He was always very encouraging to all of us kids, not just his HSC swimmers. I can see him still with that stopwatch around his sunburned neck, walking poolside at our summer meets. I have so many great memories of those days.
January 17, 2021
Coach Walker was the coach that taught me to swim when I was 6. I was on the Harlingen swim team. I was also good friends with his son, Randy. They lived one street behind me. I moved to San Antonio when I was 10 and started swimming under Walker again at SAAC, at 11. He left for the valley again when I was in high school. He was one tough coach. I learned more than just swimming from him. I didn’t realize just how much he did for me and how important he was until he left. I am so glad that years later I got to see him again and thank him. He will always be at the top of my list of people that influenced me. He was a great man. I’m glad I still swim today and I still swim with other old SAAC swimmers. His legacy will live on with me. I so proud to say, that every time I go by the Bill Walker Pool, that he was my coach.
January 15, 2021
During his many years of ministry at Bexar County Detention Center, Bill blessed many. many people. He was a most faithful minister among us and delighted in facilitating 12 Step groups as well as Centering Prayer. He truly inspired all of us with his sence of joy and total dedication -- coming often when his own health was a challenge. I thank God for having the opportunity to minister along side him. May he rest in peace.
Sr. Teresa Carter, CSB
Catholic Chaplaincy Coordinator BCADC
January 14, 2021
My condolences to Karen and the entire Walker family. Bill was quite a man. Upon becoming the athletic director for NEISD I was amazed to find that Bill ran the entire swimming program for five high schools, a swim club, and the many programs for kids and adults that started early in the morning and ran to late night while similar size school programs had three and four times as many employees.. He had an assistant and several life guards and we never had a major incident during my time with him. Outstanding Bill. I had great respect for Bill as an administrator, teacher, and friend. Bill loved golf and we shared many rounds together. Thanks Bill for always being accountable and being a good friend and co-worker.
January 13, 2021
Bill was a legendary swimming coach. I had the fortune of working for and with him for 4 years. Bill had forgotten more about swimming and coaching than I ever knew. I was always glad that my daughter, Casey, was able to be coached by Bill in the later years of his career. God bless you Bill, your legacy will live forever!
January 12, 2021
When I first began coaching and running a pool, I would sit in our monthly Alamo Area meetings and marvel at the insight that Bill had and shared with us. He seemed to always think about what was best for the kids. This made me a better coach and person. Thanks Bill.
Bill& Roberta McCarty
January 9, 2021
Karen and family,
Sending our deepest condolences .
Bill was a great guy who loved to play bridge.
Love and hugs