James Knox Walker

November 16, 1927 – May 2, 2020
James Knox Walker Jr., or “Knox”, as he was known to friends and family, passed away Saturday, May 2, 2020 from complications of a hip fracture. He was born on November 16, 1927 to Reba Dick Walker and James Knox Walker and spent his childhood living on the campus of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, where his father was Campus Engineer. Knox wrote of his childhood in the book, Over at College: A Texas A&M Campus Kid in the 1930s, which was published in 2016 by the Texas A&M University Press.

After graduating from A&M Consolidated High School, Knox was drafted into the Army before he could begin his studies at Texas A&M and was sent to Japan as part of the post-war occupation. Upon completion of his service, he returned to College Station where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in entomology from A&M.

Knox went on to serve as a professor in the Texas A&M Department of  Entomology until his retirement in 1993. He was named Professor Emeritus that same year. During his career, Knox’s research focused on the boll weevil, bollworm, and cotton fleahopper and the use of integrated pest management strategies to improve yield, increase profitability, and significantly reduce insecticide use in cotton production.

Knox was an avid sportsman, especially enjoying fly fishing on his beloved Llano River in the Texas Hill Country and birdwatching wherever he went. He also loved duck hunting, particularly in his retirement years when he would rise at 3:00 AM in order to claim the best Lake Somerville hunting spot before the arrival of other, much younger, hunters.

He was fond of music, particularly songs of Ireland, from whence his Scots-Irish ancestors emigrated. “Galway Bay” was a favorite. Knox was a lifelong Bing Crosby fan and had an encyclopedic knowledge of old movies. He could tell you who directed a film, what year it was released, and all of the actors in it. One of his greatest joys was spending time talking movies and Crosby with his younger brother, John.

Knox had a great appreciation of history, reading widely in that genre. He included much Great Depression era history in his book about growing up during that time. He loved words and language. One of his favorite pastimes was reading Webster’s Dictionary for fun and then quizzing his kids on new word meanings.

He was married to his wife, Pat, for 61 years. She died in 2011. Knox was also predeceased by his brother, John, and by a grandson, Jeremy Spies. He is survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Deborah and Ron Spies and Kelly and Gary Crane, and by daughter, Megan Walker. He is also survived by sons and daughters-in-law, Alex and Tammy Walker and Patrick and Rachel Walker. He leaves behind nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

Knox was a lifelong dog lover so the family requests memorial donations be sent to Aggieland Humane Society at 5359 Leonard Rd, Bryan, TX 77807 or online at aggielandhumane.org

A memorial gathering of family and friends will be scheduled and announced at a later date due to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Express condolences at CallawayJones.com.

Condolences

  1. Professor Walker always brought a smile to my face when he entered a room with his friendly and cheerful attitude. I provided clerical support for him while working at Entomology Dept., TAMU.

  2. For the family of Mr. Walker… condolences all around. Your profound loss is sadly felt among the many of his former students, myself included. He was unique. His office reeked of pipe smoke and intellect. His almost too cool demeanor belied a man whose understanding of the way things really are was at the top. When faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in writing my dissertation, he prescribed an immersion in the activities of “archie and mehitabel”!
    It worked. Mr.Walker took education as a priveledge and high responsibility. He and men like him – of that certain generation of Aggie instructors tempered by the military – was a fortunate experience for a newer generation of young eager minds. Emulation…would not be scholarly folly!

  3. Dear Megan and family,
    I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Although I did not know your father, I was so intrigued about his life from reading the obituary. What an accomplished man! May your fond memories of him live on through generations in your family.

  4. Kelly & Gary and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I knew you loved to go to the Llano River and fish with your Dad. I also know you were so proud of the man he was and all of his accomplishments. My prayers go out to all of you.

  5. Megan, my heartfelt sympathy at the home going of your dad. I knew your dad only briefly thru his brother John, who was a year behind me in high school. Of course, your mom and I were best of friends all our high school years, continuing right up to her death as I would visit with her anytime we went to CS. I think you were the one that called me when she died, and I was so grateful. You and all the family are in my prayers for God’s comfort and peace. I will be sharing his obituary with the few remaining 1948 Consolidated graduates. One of my classmates sent me a copy of Knox’s book when it came out, and I treasure it for our shared memories! God bless!

  6. Knox was my major professor in graduate school from 1972 to 1974. He inspired many in the Department of Entomology by his interesting teaching style and his keen interest solving complex insect problems in cotton. Professor Walker was one of a kind and a person I greatly admired. Knox’s instruction has been very crucial during my 40 years as an agricultural consultant. He touched many and was a good man. My condolences to his family.

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