Hail and Farewell Joseph E. Walk

Joseph E. Walk passed away July 18, 2015. Born in Garland, TN (Tipton County) June 1, 1932, he lived most of his life in the Memphis community of Highland Heights. He attended Treadwell School and graduated from Memphis State University. He worked at Sears, Roebuck & Co for 25 years and served on the Memphis Police Department for 19 years as a reserve and patrol officer.

Joe V. Lowry, Historian Fire Museum of Memphis, shares the following reflection of Mr. Walk.

Joe Walk was one of the most thorough researchers I have ever known, a very quiet historian who didn’t enjoy the lime light and who worked without a computer.

I began historical research in 1988 at the Memphis Pubic Library, main branch, on Memphis’ streets and alley ways.   I was struggling with some material, when a tall thin older gentleman sat down beside me and said here is what you need. I thanked him and after some time talking I found out that we had a lot in common. I spent months in the library and every time I was there he was there also. A friendship was created around our love of history.

I was thrilled when Mr. Walk proofed my book Memory Lanes, for historical correctness. We both worked on the History of Memphis Theaters, which was used on a WKNO program.

Joe Walk wrote histories on the following subjects:

  • Highland Heights, Treadwell High School and the surrounding areas
  • Memphis Executive and Legislative Government
  • Chronological History of Selected Local Office and Government Buildings
  • African American Police Officers
  • Memphis and Shelby County Government Buildings, Jails, Workhouses
  • City Hall the early years from 1820 to 1888
  • Memphis Fire Department from 1830 to 1992
  • The History of the Memphis Police Department
  • History of Line of Duty Deaths Memphis Police, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and the U. S. Marshal Service

Joe Walk had served on the boards of the local Fire Buff Club and the West Tennessee Historical Society.

He was my mentor and friend, and for the answers I was searching for, always approachable. I will miss him.

Joe V Lowry

Mr. Walk’s works can be found at the Memphis Public Library.

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