The sun rose for Matthew Walker Jr. known by many as "Matt Walker" on Oct. 19, 1941, in Malvern, Ark. Matthew was the second of three children, born to Addie Lee McAdoo (Hunter), and the first of two children born to Matthew Walker Sr.
Matt graduated from Malvern High School, and moved to Los Angeles. Calif., in 1961. He attended West L.A. Junior College from 1965 to 1967, graduated from Career Academy (Los Angeles) in 1969, and graduated from Don Martin School of Broadcasting (Los Angeles) in 1971. After completing his education, Matt was offered employment as a Disc Jockey for Tyler Broadcasting-KROZ/KZEY in Tyler. He accepted this position and moved to Tyler where he began to make a name for himself.
In 1985, Matt met Deborah K. Browning and they married July 15, 1988, and to this union, one son was born, Sinclair Vincent Walker. They united with New Jerusalem Baptist Church.
Matt wore several different hats during his time at KZEY/KROZ (1971-1989 and again 1993-1995); he served as a Disc Jockey, Program Director, Sales Manager and General Manager. From 1990-1991, he was an air personality on KISX Radio in Tyler.
If you knew Matt Walker, then you know that he was a great sales person, and if you talked to him long enough, he would probably end up selling you something. Matt sold cars for Willingham Auto Sales and insurance for Mutual of Omaha, Golden State Mutual Life, and Columbian Mutual Life between the years of 1991 and 2000.
Matt's love for radio led him back to the field when he was asked by Rick Reynolds to assist him in starting a new radio station in Tyler, now known as KBLZ Radio (The Blaze). He worked in sales and as an announcer from 2000-2007 (March), when he had to retire due to his long illness.
Matt was an innovator and very creative. Some of his accomplishments include Soul Town TV show (early 70's), Founder of Tyler's Juneteenth Celebration (1975) and the Miss Juneteenth Event, and in the latter years he and his wife produced Matt Walker's Gospel Hour. He received numerous awards throughout his career and he loved working with the community and coming up with successful promotions for all of his clients.
In February of 2007, John Tyler students Kiera Wade and George Mitchell interviewed Matt for their school's Black History Month edition of the newspaper. Here are excerpts from the article:
"Mr. Matt Walker was the first Black to do television and radio advertising sales here in Tyler and the first to have a Black television show in Tyler. To many Tyler residents, Matt Walker was "Mr. KZEY!!!"
Mr. Walker said that his inspiration came from James Brown when he came out with the song, "I'm Black and I'm Proud." His personal mission in life has been to instill in Blacks that "Black was Beautiful" and that if "Blacks believe in themselves they can do anything!!!" When he came to Tyler in the 70's there was division and so he set up meetings with different people of the community as a mediator to bring unity. Indeed Matt Walker is a walking encyclopedia of Black History & Black Pride, ready to share with any and all who desire to listen and learn. 'He lives by 'The Three D's to Success,' which are Decisiveness, Direction and Dedication. "You have to be dedicated to your decision and direction and you won't fail."
The sun set for Matthew on Nov. 27, 2007. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother. He will be forever loved by his wife, Deborah; sons, Renardo Vernell Walker (Pam) of McKinney, Erick Vaughn Walker (Val) of Lusby, Md., Sinclair Vincent Walker of Austin; three grandchildren, Jade, Julia and Jarrett; sisters, Clara Smith of Malvern. Ark., Alice Walker of Muskegon, Mich.; mother-in-law, Katie Terrell; sisters-in-law: Cynthia Allen, Caroline Belcher (Donald), Coletha Browning (daughter Diana); aunt-in-law, Virginia Fay Hawkins; and a host of loving relatives and friends. Matt Walker will be missed by many.
Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at North Star Baptist Church with the Rev. James E. Curtis officiating.
Burial will be in Evergreen Memorial Park under direction of John R. Harmon Undertaking Co., Tyler. Visitation will be 1-10 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Sinclair Vincent Walker Scholarship Fund at any Austin Bank location or to Hospice of East Texas, 4111 University Blvd., Tyler, 75701, in loving memory of Matthew "Matt" Walker.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Dec. 2, 2007