Nov. 23, 1923 – March 12, 2013
Charles E. Walker Jr., 89, a decorated World War II veteran and crew member of the famous “Ghost Plane” that was shot down over Belgium in November 1944, died Tuesday in his Williamsville home after a battle with leukemia. He was 89.
Born and raised in Newton, Mass., Mr. Walker enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942 and was stationed at the Royal Air Force base in Bassingborne, England. From there, he flew 35 missions over Europe in a B-17 Flying Fortress and was on the crew of the “Ghost Plane.”
Mr. Walker earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal along with other military awards. He later attended the 50th anniversary of the 8th Air Force in England in 1992 with other members of the 91st Bomb Group.
Mr. Walker married Mary Magdalene Rott of Buffalo in 1952.
After living in Stoughton, Mass., the couple moved to Williamsville in 1956, and with the help of his father-in-law, Mr. Walker built the home where they lived until the time of his death.
Mr. Walker worked as a carpenter, furniture and kitchen salesman and as an inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Nicknamed “Paparazzi” for his picture-taking and email hobby, he enjoyed researching family genealogy with his brothers, James and Robert, who died in 2010. The brothers traced the Walker lineage back 13 generations to the year 1592, family members said.
Mr. Walker also enjoyed many other hobbies, including camping, fishing, golfing, gardening and playing horseshoes. He was a fan of the Boston Red Sox.
A parishioner of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Harris Hill, Mr. Walker also was a member of the Holy Name Society; PTA; Toastmasters; Post 1200, Veterans of Foreign Wars; and the 91st Bomb Group Memorial Association.
Besides his wife and brother James, Mr. Walker is survived by three sons, Charles E. III, John L. and Philip J.; a daughter, MaryBeth Hoffarth; and two sisters, Barbara and Polly.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 8500 Main St., Harris Hill.