In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Mary Culpepper Walker, 94

Mary Culpepper Walker, 1926-2021

Mary Culpepper Walker, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among East Asian Affinity Peoples in Japan, died Feb. 13, 2021. She was 94.

Walker was born June 12, 1926, in East Asia, to the late Charles Lee Culpepper Sr. and Ola Lane Culpepper, missionaries to East Asia. Walker’s mother taught her until she entered boarding school at age 10. In 1940, because of war in East Asia, the U.S. government ordered women and children to leave the country. Mary and her mother moved to Texas, where her brother was a seminary student.

When seeking missionary appointment, Walker indicated she felt a definite call to foreign mission service at a camp near San Antonio in the summer of 1941. After finishing high school in Fort Worth, she became a student at Baylor University, where she was active in mission work and other Baptist Student Union activities. While there, she became engaged to William Levi Walker, a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. In 1947, she received the Bachelor of Arts from Baylor, and she and Bill were married shortly after her graduation.

The Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the Walkers missionaries to Japan in 1949, part of a wave of Southern Baptist missionaries who entered Japan after World War II. During 37 years as missionaries, the Walkers served in Oita, Fukuoka and Kochi before retiring in 1988.

Survivors include her children Carol Walker Smith of Tyler Texas, Bill Walker of Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Charlie Walker of Powder Springs, Georgia.

A graveside service was held Feb. 23, 2021, at Cathedral in the Pines in Tyler, Texas. A memorial service was planned for June 12, 2021, at First Baptist Church, Tyler, Texas.

Read more about Walker here.