Leslie R. Walker

God put His tender arms around a devoted Christian woman and brought her to Himself suddenly on Monday, January 2, 2012. Leslie Walker was a dedicated mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend of many.

Leslie was born February 7, 1956, in New York, New York, to James Mayo and Dorothy Walker. While in New York, Leslie received her formal education, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1983; the family’s first college graduate. A successful playwright, her first stage play, “Mama Done Told Me,” debuted off-Broadway in 1984. An educator at heart, she obtained her teacher’s license and began working in the New York City Department of Education, mastering curriculum for students in special education programs.

Leslie moved to Idlewild in 1991 to provide a better quality of life for her children. Surrendering her life to Christ in 1992, Leslie was baptized at Christ Community Church in Baldwin. She later joined First Baptist Church of Woodland Park where she served as church clerk and was also instrumental with Black History programs. Leslie was always on hand to inspire and uplift everyone with one of her many poems, and she enjoyed music with a message.

While in Baldwin, Leslie was involved with the school system working at area schools as a substitute (guest) teacher. She also worked with the Lake County Trial Court as a Holdover Attendant, West Michigan Community Mental Health System as a Resource Coordinator, and as Program Director for area programs focused on youth. In 2000, Leslie, along with Gloria Fikes, coordinated the “Myself, My Family, My Community” project, an outreach program designed to expose local youth to all aspects of photography. In 2003, Leslie also served as Vice President and grant writer for the 3B’s Skate Association, helping to secure $12,000 to build a skate park in downtown Baldwin.

She leaves to cherish her precious memory her two daughters, Ta-Tanisha Walker Thomas (Eric) of Nashville, TN, and Life Angelique Walker of Idlewild; three grandchildren, Ta-Tiana Walker-Smith, Kara Brent, and Eric Thomas (E.J.); two brothers, Craig Cole and James Mayo; four sisters, Laurelle Walker, Dinah Mayo-Bobee, Lorraine Mayo-Brown (Baldwin), and Janet Bracey; a host of aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, many other relatives and friends.

Leslie was preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy Janet Walker; sisters, Joan Fain Wilson and Ophelia Phillips.

Services for Leslie were held at First Baptist Church of Idlewild on Saturday, January 7. Burial followed at the Pleasant Plains Township Cemetery. Arrangements were provided by Verdun Funeral Home and Cremation Services.