Rev. Ernest Lee Walker, 98 (20 days short of his 99th birthday), departed this world into the loving arms of Jesus Christ, his Savior on August 10th, 2023. Ernest was born on August 30, 1924, in a remote section of our state called Goose Island. He died at his residence in Lake Charles, LA.
Ernest graduated from Bell City High in 1942. During his high school days, he lettered in basketball and track for 4 years. In 1942 at the District track meet, he won 4 first-place medals in the high jump, broad jump, triple jump, and 220-yard dash giving him the honor of bringing home the “Best Athlete” medal. After graduation from High School, Ernest was in a work-training program at Lake Charles Army Air Base to become an Aircraft and Engine Mechanic. Upon the completion of the training program, he was a Journeyman Aircraft Mechanic.
On May 6, 1943, Ernest married his high school sweetheart, Pearl Louise Hebert. His favorite saying was “She chased and chased after me, until I finally caught her.” In 1943, the world was at war. The world crisis had a profound effect on the teenage couple that had married on May 6, 1943. Within 2 ½ months they would be separated by war for 2 ½ years. On July 25, 1943, Ernest boarded the Queen Mary along with 17,000 other G.I. and sailed out of New York Harbor. His primary responsibility was to repair B-17, B-24, B-25, P-47, P-51, and many others, then return them to combat.
When the war ended in Europe, the troops needed to be entertained, so there was a special effort made to organize recreational activities to involve as many as possible. There was a select group called the “United Kingdom Track and Field Team.” This group was made up of men who were boxers, wrestlers, and others representing every event of track and field. Ernest was selected to represent the team in the high jump, broad jump, triple jump, and hurdles. The team toured England and Wales putting on exhibitions and entering special competitions against troops of other nations. The final meet was in White City Stadium in London, England where Ernest won first place in High jump and Hop-skip-&-jump.
After the war, being honorably discharged with a rank of Sergeant, Ernest went back to the job that he had left at the Lake Charles Air Base and remained there until the Base closed. His next place of employment was Ziegler Flying Service in Jennings. After working for the flying service for a year, Ernest was then employed by Olin Chemical Corporation as a production operator. In September 1946, Pearl and Ernest attended Hayes Baptist Church where they both accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and committed to serving Him. For the rest of their lives, they continuously shared the gospel of Jesus and the salvation message to everyone who crossed their paths.
In the spring of 1951, Ernest felt a call to the ministry. He once said, “My call to the ministry is a double call, a call to ministry and a call to prepare for ministry.” After completing his bachelor’s degree at Louisiana College, Ernest enrolled in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he received the Bachelor of Divinity Degree three years later. Shortly after completing his formal education, Ernest and Pearl, and three children at the time, moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana to begin sharing Jesus’ message at Sale Street Baptist Church, which was originally Prien Lake Mission sponsored by Trinity Baptist Church. By 1960, the small frame chapel with a congregate of 60 charter members, dedicated it’s first auditorium. Through the direction of God’s leadership and Ernest’s obedience over the next 29 years, Sale Street Baptist Church became debt-free, opened a children’s building and day care center. The church partnered with multiple missions and building programs growing the membership from 60 to 1175 members by 1987 to what it is today. In 1987, he retired from active Pastorate and served churches in the area as Interim Pastor and Pulpit Supply. During his 50 years in the ministry, he has served the Southern Baptist Association and Louisiana Baptist Association by actively serving on many Boards and elected positions.
Ernest was the second son of Ralph C. Walker and Ellen Hayes Walker. Preceding him in death are his siblings, Allen Walker and Vivian McBride; his beloved Pearl, to whom he was united in marriage for 72 years; and his first-born son, Dennis Walker (Lydia). Ernest will be remembered as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, loyal friend and steward of God and leaves to his legacy of five children: David Walker, Delane Stanley, Darrell Walker (Cher), Damon Walker (Marlene), Delissa Armentor (Guy); sister, Florence Becker, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren as well as countless friends and family of the heart.
Visitation will begin at 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at Trinity Baptist Church, 1800 Country Club Rd., Lake Charles, LA 70605, in the Central Venue. Funeral services will begin at 1:00 PM with the Rev. Steve James officiating. Burial alongside his beloved Pearl will follow in Hayes Cemetery in Hayes, LA with military honors. Arrangements have been entrusted to Johnson Funeral Home of Lake Charles.
In lieu of flowers, due to his mission mindness, please consider donating to Trinity Baptist Church Mission Fund, 1800 Country Club Rd, Lake Charles, LA. 70605.