Falconer Farmer Being Celebrated Today

FALCONER — Frank Walker is an active member in his community and his family will be celebrating his long life today.

Walker, 94, was born Aug. 13, 1924, and has been a farmer since 1939 when his family moved to a farm in Falconer to escape the Great Depression. He married his wife Mary Allen, who passed away in 2016, in 1950 and has five children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

He graduated from Falconer Central School in 1942, as a star athlete before eventually taking over his father’s farm full time in 1955. He also played baseball as the Jamestown Bombers’ catcher, and basketball with the Jamestown team.

Walker has been an active member in his community throughout his long life. He has been a member of the Grange for 81 years, and was an original member of the Western New York Crop Management Association. His achievements also include being a 77 year member of the Chautauqua Company Holstein Association, where he was honored in 1981 as a master breeder, and a lifetime member of the Chautauque County Farm Bureau, as well as serving as president of the Farm Bureau from 1976-78. He also served on the town of Poland Board of Assessment for many years.

Walker also has many honors under his belt. including a Distinguished Service Award and an Award of Merit from the Chautauqua Company Soil and Water Conservation District. He was also the first recipient of the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award, given in the early 60s.

Walker kept on farming until he was 91, keeping his heifer barn and 20 acres and selling the rest, until an accident resulted in his sudden retirement on Oct. 24, 2015.

“I was careless when it happened,” Walker said. “I was never intending to retire, and then the accident happened.”

The accident happened when he got his right arm severed at the shoulder after his sleeve became entangled in the drive mechanism of a tractor he was using. The accident also fractured most of his ribs.

“It got jammed and I thought I could fix it, but I guess it wasn’t all the way off,” Walker said.

Quick action by his grandson and rescue crews saved his life. He was flown by helicopter to the Trauma Intensive Care Unit at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo where emergency surgery was performed. Adding up his stay in the ICU, the hospital and an acute rehabilitation facility, he spent more than three months recovering. When he returned home, he had to learn how to do everything with his left hand and walk with a cane. He still lives with support from his family and two part-time helpers and he continues to oversee the management of his farmland.

“It was crazy,” he said. “I’m lucky to be alive.”

The open house birthday party is being held at the Falcon’s Nest Banquet Hall at 2001 E Main St., Falconer. The party, which is being thrown by Walker’s family, will be from 3-5 p.m.