Scranton reeling from loss of mayor
By ANDREW McGINN
SCRANTON — Scranton city officials Friday reluctantly began the process of moving forward following the sudden death two days before of Mayor Rodney Walker.
Walker, 55, died Wednesday of a heart attack at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson.
The lifelong Greene County resident was serving his second term as Scranton’s mayor.
“He was a great man,” Melinda Hinners, Scranton city clerk and treasurer, said Friday. “He went out of his way to take care of things for the city.
“We’re going to miss him.”
Scranton city council on Friday morning held a special meeting to, first and foremost, pay their respects to Walker — and, second, to review the process of filling the vacancy.
“The council felt the need to pull together and recognize the loss of Mayor Walker,” Hinners said.
The council held a moment of silence for Walker, then decided to close all city departments on Tuesday — the day of Walker’s funeral — in his honor.
Walker’s funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of Christ in Scranton, with visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Dahn and Woodhouse Funeral Home.
Burial will be in Scranton Twp. Cemetery.
In January, the council will undertake the process of either appointing a new mayor or holding a special election, Hinners said.
Walker was first appointed to Scranton city council in 2004, and served until being appointed mayor in 2011.
He won his first two-year term as mayor that same year, then won re-election in 2013.
A longtime member of the Scranton Fire Department and a 1977 graduate of Scranton High School who farmed south of town for many years, Walker’s job in research and development at Scranton Manufacturing took him all over the globe.
“Rodney was an incredible father and friend,” said Tina Walker, his wife of one year. “He was a hard worker. He was a spiritual man.”
Tina Walker recalled a man who was funny, but didn’t show that side to everybody.
Rodney Walker leaves behind nine children ranging in age from 18 months to 33 years.
The baby boy, Andrew, was an unexpected gift for the Walkers.
“I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids,” Tina Walker said, “but we got together and a miracle happened.”