CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Friends and family remembered an 87-year-old man murdered Tuesday as a lifelong resident who worked to preserve Chesterfield County's history.
"Bryan was a gentle, soft-spoken and kind person," said Peggy Wood, who said she knew Walker since the 1950s.
Bryan H. Walker, 87, was found dead at his home in the 6700 block of Wentworth Street. Chesterfield County Police arrested a 16-year-old boy and charged him with first-degree murder.
"The whole community is just saddened and we'll miss him greatly," said Wood. She added that she met Walker when she moved to the Bensley neighborhood and joined the Sherbourne United Methodist Church. "He will be sorely missed and I'm so sorry this happened and he certainly didn't deserve this."
Wood said Walker's parents and grandparents were charter members of the church and helped get it constructed. She added the Walker was still an active member of the church.
"He worked in the food pantry. His job each week, every Wednesday, was to distribute the cakes and the pastries," added Wood.
Jim Daniels said he knew Walker for more than 30 years as they had served together on the Chesterfield County Preservation Committee and county historical society and had also been members of the Chester Masonic Lodge, where Walker was the master.
"His biggest thing was the Ironworks. Falling Creek Ironworks which is now a county park, wouldn't be there if it weren't for Bryan," said Daniels of Walker's passion to get the Falling Creek Ironworks turned into a county park. "The sad thing about this is in May, the Ironworks will celebrate its 400th anniversary with a big event and, I think, a parade and everything else and it's just sad that Bryan won't be there to see it."
Daniels added that Walker's father served as the Commissioner of Revenue in Chesterfield County for many years.
Daniels said he was shocked when he learned of Walker's murder.
"I was hoping it wasn't true and maybe some confusion," said Daniels. " Bryan was just the nicest person in the world and why anybody would kill him is beyond me. I can't think of anybody else who's a more humble nice person who didn't deserve that. Nobody deserves it, but Bryan for sure didn't deserve it."
WTVR CBS 6 also spoke to Walker's ex-wife, Marie Janette Abbott Walker, who was his second wife. She said they had met at church and were married for 12 years.
"I was devastated," said Abbott Walker about when she learned of the news. "It’s one thing to die in your bed with loved ones around you and it’s another thing to be senselessly murdered by a young man."
She said the Walker loved people and was passionate about so many things in life. She added that Walker was in good health and had a long live ahead of him.