Born in Guntersville, AL, Ethel Lee Walker attended the local schools where she excelled academically, graduating as salutatorian from high school. She received an Associate Degree from Daniel Payne College in Birmingham, AL. While at Payne she met a handsome young man, who would later become an important part of her life. Ethel later earned a Bachelor degree from Stillman College, in Tuscaloosa, AL, again graduating with honors. Twelve days later, on June 15, 1956 Ethel eloped to wed that handsome young man that she’d met at Payne College, and they traveled to Paris, France for their honeymoon. Ethel was a loving, devoted and protective wife to Cecil Roy Walker for 64 years.
Ethel was an educator with the Cleveland Board of Education where she taught students with learning disabilities for many years. She developed C.L.I.M.B. (Choosing Life Includes My Behavior), a program for enhancing a child’s self-esteem and social emotional growth. Ethel also established a hand bell choir and integrated her love of sign language into school programs.
Ethel attended the A.M.E. Church as a youth and young adult and joined the Seventh-Day Adventist church in 1963. She was a member of the Southeast SDA Church since it was organized in 1974 and was loved and respected by all who came in contact with her. She was a dedicated leader in the church serving as the first Women's Ministry Leader, Head Usher, deaconess, Women’s Auxiliary Leader, Sabbath School Superintendent, Host & Hostess Hospitality Leader, and the Allegheny West Conference Northeast Ohio Women's Ministry Coordinator. Ethel also loved to sing and was a member of the Chancel Choir. At the inception of the Sign Language Choir, it was Ethel who suggested the name, Hands in Ministry, and she was a beloved member of the H.I.M. sign choir for many years.
Ethel was most proud of her children Dr. Kenneth Roy, who predeceased her (Albertina), and Keith Eric (LaVerne). She enjoyed playing and reading with her boys and they shared memorable vacations as a young family. Ethel leaves behind four grandchildren, Darcel Fanee, Victor Kenneth (Lanai), Kyle Pruitte (Katherine), and Lilena Marie; and two Goddaughters, Jocelyn Kaye Gilleylen, DeShon Stigler and one great-granddaughter, Khloe Veronica Walker.
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