As a young boy in the small Latter-day Saint community of Raymond, Alberta, Canada, William Walker often visited the nearby home of his grandparents. There, hanging on the wall, was a picture of the First Presidency. “I can still remember that image. It had a profound influence on me during those early years. I grew up loving the leaders of the Church,” he says.
Elder William R. Walker was born on 25 May 1944 to J. Harris and Beth Russell Walker. After completing a full-time mission to Japan, he attended Brigham Young University, where he met his wife, Vicki Van Wagenen. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 10 June 1968 and are the parents of five children.
Following his graduation, the Walker family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where he began his career in the investment business as a stockbroker. The Walkers lived in Salt Lake City; Concord, California; Dunwoody, Georgia; and Kenilworth, Illinois, before returning to Utah in 1988. He was president of a subsidiary of American Express and later held executive positions at two of the world’s largest banks, Citibank and Barclays Bank.
Elder Walker loves to tend the flowers and fruit trees in his yard. He and his wife have also had many opportunities to cultivate in the gardens of the Lord. They were called to preside over the Japan Tokyo South Mission in 1990, and he was serving as president of the Sandy Utah Cottonwood Creek Stake at the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He has been a bishop twice, a high councilor, and a regional welfare agent.
“A big part of my life was my mission as a young man,” Elder Walker says. “President Hinckley visited Japan three times while I was there. On one of those visits to the mission home, he told my companion and me to prepare to be bishops and stake presidents. This really surprised us. But I have been blessed to see the fulfillment of that wonderful encouragement from a prophet of God.”