Graduating from Ridley in 1958, John and his brother Norris '52 were the fourth generation owners of Walker Industries which was started by their great-grandfather as a stone-cutting business in Merritton, Ontario in 1875.
Today it is a Niagara-based company that owns and operates facilities across Canada and the U.S. The company comprises a diversified group of companies, including aggregates and road building, emulsions and environmental services.
In 2001, John and Norris retired, leaving Walker Industries to the fifth generation of the Walker family: David ’83, Geordie '90, Ian '90, the late Jennifer '82, Liz, Sheila and Wendy '85. John and Walker Industries have been dedicated to community service and philanthropy.
In addition to dozens of entrepreneurial and achievement awards, he served as chair or member of numerous boards including: Shaver Hospital, Knox Presbyterian Church, Shaw Festival, AIDS Niagara, YMCA, Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre Foundation and Honorary Chair of St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation's Breakthrough Health Care Campaign.
Between 1991 and 1997, John and Norris donated 40 shells to the Canadian National Rowing Team. John was named an Executive in Residence at Brock University where, in 2001, he was given an Honorary Doctorate.
He was awarded a Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 honouring his many philanthropic achievements. He was the Honorary Co-Chair of "It's Our Time" campaign for the building of the new Niagara Health System hospital and the Walker Family Cancer Centre which opened in St. Catharines in 2013.
No organization was closer to John’s heart than Ridley. Over many years, he served on the Ridley College Board of Governors, Building Committee and in 2010 gave a sizable donation to Ridley College’s Rowing Program.
John died at the age of 77 on May 26, 2016 in his beloved home overlooking the Niagara River in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.