Neola Walker

Neola Maxine Walker

Tuesday, July 31st, 1923 - Wednesday, September 16th, 2020
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Neola Maxine Walker passed away on September 16, 2020 at Brookside Manor in Hood River, Oregon. Neola was born on July 31, 1923 and was 97 years of age at the time of her passing.

She was born in Quincy, Missouri to Denver Lee Odis and Adella Myrtle (Brashears) Harper. Eighteen months later her younger sister Ruth was born. The two girls played well together. Their mother was a good cook preparing all of their meals. Dad was a farmer and the girls used to play house out beside the barn. Brother Bill came along a few years later, so there were a few years difference in their ages.

Neola started grade school when she was six and attended a one room school, Pleasant View School in Missouri. Neola and Ruth would ride their Shetland pony, to school in their younger years that is whenever the pony wasn’t getting too feisty to ride.

In 1937 when Neola was 14 years old, the family moved to Parkdale, Oregon, where Dad got a better job picking Pears. They bought a place on Culbertson Dr. She attended Odell High School. Soon after the war broke out and many of the boys went off to war, so the women took over teaching as well as many other duties.

When Neola graduated high school in about 1941, her mother, who use to make most of the girls’ clothing by hand, made her a special red dress (Neola’s favorite color) for her graduation. Neola learned much from her Mother, how to cook, sew, garden, and to be mild tempered.

It was during high school when Neola started dating Donald Walker, a quiet young man who had a car, which was probably what attracted her at first. Neola and Donald would take drives many times to town for a hamburger. Donald even taught Neola to drive the car. Neola’s parents were very protective of the girls, and Dad had a mirror that he could use to see the he probably saw every time Donald kissed her goodnight.

On July 9, 1941 Neola married Donald Patrick Walker in Stevenson, Washington. They really enjoyed going for drives and looking at car shops. Money was really tight and they couldn’t afford a honeymoon, but they were able to buy a house from Don’s grandparents that they were able to fix up and make their home.
Neola started working for Diamond Fruit after they got married, around the end of the war. She drove tractors hauling fruit, packed fruit, and even learned to drive a hyster (forklift) to load and unload fruit from the trucks. She worked at Diamond Fruit Growers for 47 years before retiring.

Neola was a longtime member of the Parkdale Church of the Nazarene and served in different capacities over the years, including being on the Church Board for many years. She loved her church family and she was loved and respected by all.

Neola loved and enjoyed her family. She loved getting together with family at Christmas time and going on trips with her children during the summer when the orchard work was done. They most always took time to go to stay in a cabin at Lake Chatcolet near St. Maries, Idaho. To Neola, her family was all important to her. She always seemed to be the family matriarch watching over the children and grandchildren, providing for whatever they needed irregardless of the circumstance. The grandkids had a nickname for Grandma. It was Banga, which started when Kim couldn’t say grandma. The nickname stuck throughout the years and Grandma, was just Banga!

The last few years Neola resided at Providence Brookside Manor, as she required physical assistance getting around. Although she would have preferred to have been at home in Parkdale, the staff cared for her and many referred to her as grandma. She also enjoyed the friendship of her close friend Barbara Lowe. Eventually they both would reside at Brookside.

Neola is survived by her daughter Gloria Wilcox and husband Gary of Portland, Son Patrick Walker and wife Ruth of Parkdale, Son-in-law John Wilson of Salem, six grandchildren, Kimberly, Lisa, Chris, Jeffery, Todd, and Ross; eight great-grandchildren Nick, Macey, Robert, Ryan, Bruce, Wyatt, Karly, and McKenna; and four great-great-grandchildren; Izaiah, Ayden, Riley, and Emerson. Neola was preceded in death by her parents Denver and Adella Harper, her husband Donald Walker, siblings, Ruth Kirby, and Bill Harper, daughter Donna Joy Wilson, and grandson Jay Wilson.

A graveside committal was held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, September 26th, 2020 at The Upper Valley Cemetery in Parkdale, Oregon.

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031.

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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, September 26th, 2020 | 1:00pm
    Saturday, September 26th, 2020 1:00pm
    Parkdale Cemetery
  • Interment

    Parkdale Cemetery


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The Plympton's sent flowers to the family of Neola Maxine Walker.
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Karen Kurzawa

Posted at 12:04pm
Neola had such a beautiful spirit and I enjoyed spending time with her when I would sing for the residents at Brookside. May God bless her family and friends as they grieve the loss of this kind and gentle woman.

The Plympton's

Posted at 10:49pm
Neola Walker (Banga), brought so many gifts to our life. We will never forgot her and very blessed she was in our lives. Thanks for the memories.
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Kimberly Wilcox-Goin

Posted at 05:02pm
Our dear Banga, this is the name I gave her being her first grandchild 58 years ago. It stuck and all of her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren call her Banga as well (except for Todd and Ross, she was Grandma).
Banga is so loved by all of us and I know all of you too! She loved God, her family, her church, her friends, her Diamond Fruit working years, her orchard and the Brookside staff. She was an amazing woman. So humorous and sharp to the end, just her body frail of 97 years on this earth. She is at home in Heaven now with her loved one's and I look forward to seeing her again!

Karen, Judy and Denzel

Posted at 06:40pm
Gloria, Pat and family....we are saddened by Neola's passing and will remember our life long friendship with you and your family. She was a wonderful, sweet lady. Our love, Denzel, Karen and Judy.

Gloria campbell

Posted at 05:08pm
I’ve known Neola for so long and spent time at her house with Gloria while growing up. She was always so nice and had the best smile. She will surely be missed. RIP Neola and God bless you.

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