GREENFIELD — June Walker never served as a member of the Greenfield City Council, but she rarely missed a meeting.
Ever passionate about local affairs, Walker is fondly remembered by her friends and family as a kind, encouraging presence both at home and in the Greenfield community. She was a regular presence at city and council meetings and a cheerleader of all things Hancock County, where she was born and served with a number of local organizations and boards over the years.
The retired police officer died Wednesday following a lengthy illness, according to friends. She had been staying recently at Springhurst Health Campus in Greenfield.
While Walker was a regular attendee of government meetings, she was a quiet presence, chatting only before and after the proceedings were called to order, said Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell. She wasn’t one to step up to the podium and give lengthy speeches about decisions she didn’t agree with; she just exemplified an engaged citizen, he said.
And her visits were welcome for another reason, too — they always came with treats.
Walker arrived before the meeting’s start time, passing out bags of candy, snacks or other homemade goodies to her representatives and anyone else in the room, Fewell said.
It was a good nature that extended past the board room.
Once, she even invited city officials into her home, cooking them gumbo soup, inspired by years she lived in Louisiana.
“June was a remarkable lady,” Fewell added. “She was kind of a fixture in our city council meetings, ever since I’ve been there, and even before me, I’m sure.”
A call to service ran deep in Walker’s veins, Fewell said. Before returning to Greenfield, Walker served as a member of the Alexandria Police Department in Louisiana. She was the first female police officer in the state of Louisiana, which later awarded her an honorary key to the city of New Orleans.
After returning to her native Hancock County, she continued her public service. She served on the Hancock County Mental Health American board of directors and was a member of the Coalition for Citizens Rights and the Hancock County Historical Society.
After years of attending city council meetings, Walker, a Democrat, unsuccessfully ran for an open seat. While campaigning for the office, she teasingly declined to reveal her age — a detail omitted even from her obituary — wanting to be defined by her energy and dedication to the community, not her senior citizen status.
Walker didn’t win that seat, but she continued to be a friendly face in council chambers in the years following.
Walker always had a warm and welcome smile for anyone who entered city hall’s doors on Wednesday nights, said city council president Gary McDaniel. She encouraged everybody she saw to get involved and come to meetings.
“June Walker was a beautiful lady,” McDaniel said. “It is such a great loss to our community to lose someone of her caliber. She will be very missed.”
She was a good-hearted, church-going woman, said councilman Mitch Pendlum, who counted Walker among his friends.
For as long as Pendlum knew her, Walker had a desire to serve others and was always willing to offer help and prayers to a friend in need, Pendlum said.
He met her more than a decade ago while driving down Apple Street. Walker was struggling to cut down a pesky branch from a tree in her yard, so Pendlum pulled over to help her out. The two stayed in touch, becoming friends over the years.
And their political differences (Pendlum is a Republican) never got in the way, he said.
“She was Democrat though, but that was OK,” Pendlum joked. “I always told her she was the best Democrat I ever knew.”