RIP Helen Walker (1932-2013)
Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 6, 2013
Orange City Treasurer Helen Walker passed away on Thursday at the age of 80.
One of Orange County’s six elected City Treasurers (the other five are in Brea, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Placentia, and San Clemente), Walker was appointed City Treasurer by a 3-0-2 vote (Mayor Gene Beyer was absent and Councilman Mark Murphy abstained for conflict-of-interest reasons, as Walker was his campaign treasurer) on November 22, 1994, after Mark Weiss resigned due to a terminal illness after the Orange County bankruptcy. Weiss had defeated Walker in the 1992 election for Treasurer by the narrowest of margins; indeed, Walker had still been leading several days after the election.
Walker won a full four-year term as Treasurer in 1996 and was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. Walker was unopposed in 2000, won 72.5% of the vote in 2004 against CPA David Piper, won 76.6% of the vote in 2008 against businessman George Small, and 64.8% in her 2012 rematch against Small.
Born on Christmas Day 1932, Walker was a lifelong resident of the City of Orange, attending schools in the city and graduating from Orange High School. A banker for more than three decades, Walker worked at Orange National Bank and in business development at Orange Community Bank.
An active community member even before she was City Treasurer, Walker was the City of Orange’s 1990 Citizen of the Year and a recipient of the Rotary Club Recognition Award. She was a board member of the Orange Historical Society, Miss Orange Scholarship Association, Orange Elderly Services, Soroptimist International of Orange, the St. Joseph Hospital Guild, Girl Scouts, PTA, Orange Women’s Club, and the Orange Centennial Committee. She was also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and Chapman University’s American Celebration Committee.
She and her 86-year-old husband, Jim, were regular bridge players who also toured in their antique car, a 1913 International Harvester Highwheeler, and attended the Yorba Linda Friends Church. She is survived by her husband, their three children, and several grandchildren.
The Orange City Council must appoint a Treasurer to fill the vacancy resulting from Walker’s death by Monday, September 30, or hold a special election no later than Tuesday, January 21, 2014. If the Council opts to act at a regular Council meeting, Tuesday, September 24 would be their last opportunity to make an appointment, or on that date, they could call for a special election, which would take place no later than Tuesday, January 14, 2014.