Eight Bells: Stuart Walker

Published on November 13th, 2018

by Bill Wagener, Capital Gazette
Dr. Stuart Walker, one of the world’s most renowned dinghy sailors and founder of Severn Sailing Association, died on November 12 at the age of 95 in Annapolis, MD.

Dr. Walker, who died as a result of stomach cancer, participated in his last competitive regatta this past April when he finished 10th out of 12 entries at the Soling United States National Championship that was hosted by Severn Sailing Association.

Walker was the guest of honor at an August party held at Severn Sailing Association in anticipation of his death. In an email to family, friends and fellow SSA members, he explained the purpose of the party.

“Many years ago I decided that when I died a great party should be given at SSA in remembrance of me,” Walker wrote. “Recently, however, when I was informed that my abdomen was filled with cancer, I decided that it would be far more fun for me to hold the party in advance of my demise.”

Walker’s last book, titled “Severn Sailing Association – The First Ten Years” was completed and printed in time for the August 26 party.

“Dr. Walker was a remarkable man and he led a remarkable life–a success in so many ways both in his vocation as a pediatrician and in his primary avocation as a small-boat racing sailor,” current Severn Sailing Association commodore Jonathan Phillips said.

“Stuart was a world-class sailor who experienced great success in numerous classes at the national and international level. I know it’s a cliche, but he really was a larger-than-life figure at SSA and in the greater sailing community and his love and passion for the sport inspired many others.”

Walker was enshrined in the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2013 and it was rather fitting the induction ceremony was held in his hometown. He was 90 years old at the time and gave a rousing speech to a large audience at City Dock.

Gary Jobson, current president of the National Sailing Hall of Fame and another legendary Annapolis sailor, paid tribute to Dr. Walker upon learning of his death.

“Stuart Walker was an enthusiastic sailor who wrote about it his entire career,” Jobson said. “Stuart just loved being on the water and sailed regularly until he could no longer do so. The sport of sailing has lost a great one with the passing of Stuart Walker.”

Complete report… click here.

For photos, click here.

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