Carolyn Roberts Walker

Published 2:20 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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Carolyn Belle Roberts Walker, 96, passed away peacefully on April 4, 2024, at NHC HealthCare in Johnson City, Tennessee. Carolyn was born in Newport, Tennessee, on January 30, 1928. She loved playing tennis with her mother, and they often played doubles together against men who were on their lunch break in downtown Newport…and won many times. She was the daughter of the late Guy and Dora Faye Roberts. Carolyn was also preceded in death by her husband of 73 years, Duard Walker, Sr., and a daughter, Cindy Fulwider Gober. 

After graduating from Cocke County High School, she went to Milligan College in 1945. In 1946, she met Duard Walker and they were married on August 14, 1947. In 1948, Duard and Carolyn became the first married couple to be crowned May King and Queen at Milligan. Carolyn graduated in only three years. During her time at Milligan, official women sports were practically non-existent, so Carolyn was seen participating in archery, basketball, bowling, softball, tennis, and volleyball at the intramural level. She was a member of The Buffalo Club and The Women’s Athletic Association at Milligan. After graduating in 1948, she and Duard moved to New York where she worked at St. Luke’s Hospital while he worked on his master’s degree at Columbia University. They then moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Duard coached multiple sports at Farragut High School for two years. Carolyn assisted Duard in coaching the girls’ basketball team at Farragut.

They returned to the Milligan campus in 1951 as Duard took on the roles of Director of Athletics and coach of five different sports over the next 50 years. Carolyn became the organist for Hopwood Christian Church, located on the Milligan campus, and served in that role for over 50 years. She was the organist and musical director for countless weddings and funerals in the area. In the mid-1960s, when a music teacher left at Happy Valley Elementary in Carter County, she stepped up and briefly taught Music and later became President of the P.T.A. there. She participated in a bowling league in Johnson City and in local tennis tournaments as well. Duard was also the Head Resident of a men’s dormitory at Milligan and Carolyn used to joke that she was the only woman to live in a men’s dorm for 50 years.

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Much of Carolyn’s “work life” was spent with the Upper East Tennessee Lung Association where she served as Regional Director. She later worked in real estate for Century 21 Act III Realty and Sonja Fox Real Estate and Auction. For many years, Carolyn was heavily involved in serving our community through organizations such as the Red Cross, where she served on the Board of Directors and also as Vice Chairwoman. She also served in various roles for the Monday Club of Johnson City, such as the Chairwoman for International Affairs, Second VP, and Membership Chairwoman. 

Carolyn was an avid, vocal supporter to have Johnson City build a new Seniors’ Center to serve the area’s growing retiree population. While the end result was not what she and many others had hoped for, the building of a completely new Seniors’ Center was still very much appreciated. She served as President of the Johnson City Senior Center and served on the Advisory Council.

Carolyn’s love of music extended well beyond her playing organ for Hopwood Christian Church and at weddings and funerals. She loved singing with the Mountain Empire Chapter of the Sweet Adelines. She also served as VP for that chapter. In the fall of 1988, during a “Quartet Fun Night” event in Johnson City, Carolyn and three of her Sweet Adelines teammates formed a quartet called, “Basically Sound.” A local writer called Basically Sound the best overall quartet of the night and said they changed keys “without a hitch.” Basically Sound won the event.

Survivors include four of her children, Teresa (Kevin) Knox, Buff (Debbie) Walker, Gary (Gina) Walker, and Tracy (Susan) Walker; her sister, Pat (Clark) Aldridge-Hinkle; grandchildren, Chad (Jessica) Fulwider, Derrick (Whitney) Fulwider, Jace (Beth) Fulwider, Tony (Lisa) Stout, Anlyn (John) Hughes, Stephanie Sibley, Trey (Alina) Walker, Sky Walker, Gavin Walker, Brent (Amanda) Parker, Brittany (Andy) Tynon, Kyle (Dara) Knox, Katie (Tyler) Pearson, Keith (Alyssa) Knox and 16 great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews include Jeff (Mary Ellen) Walker, Robin (David) Jimenez, Jeff (Tembra) Aldridge and Melanie Aldridge.

The family would like to give a special thanks to the wonderful team at NHC HealthCare in Johnson City and specifically to Vanessa and her loving Station Two team. Special thanks also to her caregiving team at home, prior to NHC (Tonya, Kay, Aisha and Judy).

There will be a private graveside service at Happy Valley Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Duard & Carolyn Walker Scholarship Fund (Milligan University, Duard & Carolyn Walker Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 750, Milligan, TN 37682). Words of sympathy may be shared with the family by visiting and visiting Carolyn’s obituary page.

Tetrick Funeral Home of Elizabethton is honored to serve the Walker family. Office Phone (423) 542-2232; Obituary Line (423) 543-4917.