|Mary Jane Scoles Walker|
Mary Jane Scoles was the youngest child of Minnie Luella Smith and Charles Scoles. She was born 20 Aug 1927 in Bradford, Chickasaw County, Iowa. As a high school senior, she was chosen as a Queen entrant at the North Iowa Band Festival in Mason City by her class band from Nashua high school. She was a member of both the concert and marching bands, glee club, and mixed chorus and was also the state champion student band director. She was also an attendant to the Nashua High Homecoming Queen as a senior. Immediately after graduation, she belonged to The Majel Club, a social club of young women of the Congregational Church in 1946/1947 and served as secretary. She taught rural school for two years after graduating.
Grant Walker was the son of Mrs Celia Walker and was raised in Pennsylvania, born at Ramey and graduated from the Madera and Ramey area high school. He entered the Navy in 1943 at age 17. He attended Pennsylvania State and Georgia Tech in the Navy Y-12 program and entered midshipmen's
|Capt Walker's Columbia|
Roomie, Johnny Carson
While he was at Columbia Midshipmen's School, his roommate was young Johnny Carson. Captain Walker said, "He was in love with his high school sweetheart, who he later married. We only had Saturday night to go out to drink and he had his friends and I had mine. We got along just fine though."
He was commissioned in July 1945 and first assigned to the USS Chandeuer, a seaplane tender. Then, he was transferred to the USS Rockingham, a Haskell-class attack transport.
While on that ship, they were doing atomic bomb testing in the Bikini Atoll late 1945/1946. He was aboard the ship during the test blasts and also was required to take radioactivity readings on the various test ships (he said, "Some sunk, some didn't.") Captain Walker said they weren't allowed to look directly toward the blast, but had to turn their backs and protect their eyes, but post-blast, he could see the mushroom cloud.
|Grant & Mary Jane's|
The couple married on 28 May 1953 in Atlanta and began their lives as a Navy family. Each year, they would come to Nashua/Plainfield for a visit with family. He recalls Minnie, Mary Jane's mother, as a bit aloof and difficult to know. She "had her opinions and those were her opinions," he said. Betty Smith Hahn and her husband Lee lived next door to Minnie. Betty was Minnie's adopted sister.
He attended Naval War College in 1963 and was in the same class as Jeremiah Denton, who was a POW for eight horrific years and later served as Senator of Alabama and Sam Gravely, the first African-American Admiral in the US Navy.
|Commander Jeremiah Denton|
His last command was as Skipper of the USS Coronado, an Austin-class amphibious transport dock (LPD) built with additional superstructure for command ship duties. Keel was laid 01 May 1965 and she was commissioned 23 May 1970. Walker was its first Skipper. Captain Walker recalls that in the time it took him to get the ship underway and to its next port, his wife Mary Jane had driven the girls cross-country to Virginia Beach and found a church and joined before he got there. He said, "I didn't get any choice in church, but I'm a Methodist anyway, so it was fine."
|Captain Grant Walker, USN|
He retired in 1976. Sadly, his wife Mary Jane died months later on 25 May 1977 in Virginia Beach. She died at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital of encephalitis. She had suffered from leukemia for the previous four years.
The couple had four daughters, two of whom reside near him and the other two are only a couple hours away. He has eight grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
Captain Walker remarried after ten years alone to Dorothy, who preceded him in death in 2007 of cancer. He likes to sing in the church choir at St Andrew's Methodist Church, to which he's belonged since 1970. His daughters sing in the choir with him. In earlier days, he was very active in the community with organizations like the Red Cross and as president of the Civic League, but he mostly takes it easy these days. He still plays poker with the folks in his 40-year-old poker club, though Captain Walker says, "Five had died." Captain Walker is 91 this year but still goes to the Outer Banks with his kids every year and sees them frequently-a situation he likes just fine.