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Homicide victim described as quiet man, there for family

Joseph D. Walker

Joseph D. Walker, submitted photo.

RACINE — On Friday night, 47-year-old Joseph D. Walker told his mother he was going to step out for a bit.

That was the last time she saw him, said his mother, Beulah, 67, of Racine. Joseph Walker, who many people knew as Joe, was killed early Saturday morning after an armed robbery at the American Legion Post 546 Tavern at 1234 Douglas Ave. As of late Monday afternoon, no suspects were in custody.

He wasn’t a big drinker and didn’t go out every weekend, Beulah Walker said, but when he did go out he liked going to the American Legion where it was relatively quiet and not a lot of young people hung out.

He was quiet, said his sister, Cynthia Hughes, 45, the only girl out of five siblings who now lives in Georgia. But he was the one who was always there to help people when they needed it — particularly family — and he was the peacemaker in the family.

Their brother died of cancer in January 2012, Hughes said, and Joseph Walker was there around the clock helping him. He did everything, from taking him to the store to helping him go to the bathroom when he started to become frail, she said.

Earlier this year, Joseph Walker moved in with his parents on the south side of Racine to help them with things like the laundry and shopping, said his mother.

At the time of his death, he was between jobs, with his most recent job at Cree Lighting through a temp agency, said Beulah Walker.

Even though he was between jobs, she said, “It didn’t dampen his spirit. He kept saying he knew he would get one.” He kept a positive attitude.

More than 25 years ago, Beulah Walker and her family moved to Racine to get away from Chicago and the gangs and violence there.

“We wanted them to have a better life,” she said. In the end, violence still ended up taking her son, who leaves behind five children of his own.

But, she said, “I’m not going to dwell on the ifs and whys … There had to be a reason for God to take him home. That will give me more peace than thinking of the ifs and whys.”


Racine Interfaith Coalition is hosting a public vigil at 6 p.m. Thursday in memory of Joseph Walker in front of American Legion Post 546 Tavern at 1234 Douglas Ave.

How to help police: Anyone with information about the shooting or suspects may contact the Racine Police Department’s investigations unit at 262-635-7756 or Crime Stoppers at 262-636-9330. Or text RACS, plus the message, to CRIMES (274637) and reference Tipsoft ID #TIP417.


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