NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches is remembering a strong leader this weekend. Reverend Eligah Walker, a former NAACP president, a businessman, and most of all a pastor has died at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer. He passed away Wednesday with his family around him.
Five daughters came from Austin, Houston, and Dallas to be by their father's bedside. "He wouldn't leave this world until all his girls were there. When the last one arrived he stayed with us for about an hour and then took his final breaths," daughter Yolanda Henderson shared.
The day before his funeral they gathered in their father's small bail bond building on Douglass Highway to make final arrangements. They even sang a portion of a favorite hymn of their father's, "Show Me the Way".
Reverend Eligah Walker is leaving a legacy for his devoted family and the community where he lived. "If he could help you, he helped you, in whatever way," Roxanne Walker Lathan said.
As a former president of the NAACP, walker's circles included congressmen. Most recently he got an invitation to President Obama's inauguration, but he was too sick to attend. Walker could wear a tux with the best of them, but he preferred helping people with much less and down on their luck. "Me, coming up under him, I don't know where I would be at today," Cedrick Edwards, Walker's associate pastor said. "And he always continued to let his girls know that you can be anything you want to be, but put God first, " Henderson will most remember.
Eligah Walker was the only pastor the Star of Hope Church has known. "He didn't feel like doing things, but he still said,'I got to go to church.' he loved Star of Hope," Aleshue Yarborough admired. Walker preached his last sermon two Sundays before his death.
"He was straight forward. He didn't hold back anything," Faye Thomas said of her father's reluctance to give up on a mission. Walker worked hard to have the Confederate Flag removed from a police emblem. He would go before local government officials when he questioned the fairness of a decision.
Walker leaves behind a devoted wife who admits she is quite the opposite of her outspoken husband. "I am the shy one," Willie B. Fletcher Walker quietly said. "It was hard to lose him. And I know it's going to be hard."
Her five daughters are already stepping in. "We're going to be fine. We're in God's hands," Michelle McCorvey assured.
The family has tapes and recordings of some of Walker's sermons. In a loud, but steadfast voice Walker said in one sermon, "He's waiting on us. Do you believe in that? He wants to make a difference in our lives because He wants to use us to make a difference in the community. Amen"
Reverend Eligah Walker's funeral is Saturday, Sept. 5 at Star of Hope Baptist Church on Looneyville Road in Nacogdoches. Burial will be in Mount Zion Cemetery, Grapeland, Texas.