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From Sumneytown to Red Hill with a Few Stops along the Way
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
2016-08-10

Married for 58 years, Eveline and Larry Walker sit on a couch in their home displaying an album that contains their marriage certificate and wedding photo, as they reminisce about their early times together.  

                Twenty years in the United States Army will generate a lot of memories and that's something that Larry Walker of Red Hill has plenty of.  The proof is in the meticulous records he kept throughout his service.

                The veteran of the 101st Airborne showed up at Fort George Meade in Maryland, fresh out of high school, to begin his career on April 7, 1953.  After basic training and some additional military schooling, his unit was ready to be shipped to Korea – everybody but him.  At the time, Walker was only 17-years-old and President Harry Truman had issued an order that required you to be 18 to serve overseas.

                So, the teenager had to wait a few months before leaving for Inchon, Korea.  But his stay, and more training, wasn't for naught.  He was at Fort Lewis, in the state of Washington, to see Audie Murphy (the most decorated soldier in WWII) film part of the movie depicting his life story titled, To Hell and Back.

                The Sumneytown native met his soon-to-be bride Eveline, after she fled Communist East Germany in 1958.  Her journey wasn't an easy one.  On a previous attempt to cross the border between the Communist German Democratic Republic of (East) Germany and the Federal Republic of (West) Germany, she was caught and had her passport and all other official identification papers taken from her.

                Without identification, her hopes of fleeing the Communist country were fleeting.  Then a friend told her about a man who could get her across the border.  Who, how, and why it worked may remain a mystery forever. She was told to follow the man at a lengthy distance and simply walk to freedom.  She did and it worked.  No questions, just entry to the west.

                It was in Mannheim (West Germany) where she met Larry, and they were married in 1959.  But, even that blessed event wasn't without its own issues.

                When a military doctor examined Eveline an x-ray showed a scar on her lung that, in military terms of the time, "would prevent her from going out of the country and that this would be an un-lasting marriage."  

                Larry's was a motor mechanic at the time.  His Master Sergeant was attending Catechetical Classes held by a Priest who had car problems that nobody was able to fix.  The Sergeant told the Priest that "Larry can handle it."  Larry met the Priest, fixed the car and found a friend who would help Eveline and him through their problems. 

                The Priest went to Walkers Captain and scolded him by saying "All marriages are made in Heaven … you're standing in the way of The Good Lord."  It apparently gave the Captain cause to re-think everything.

                Eveline and Larry were married in Germany shortly after that.  But, they were still in Germany.  Two sons later, Walker's enlistment was nearing the end and the family wanted to relocate to the United States but the scar on Eveline's lung was still a blocking point.

                Larry contacted the Surgeon General and declared "If I have to reenlist to get Eveline to America …" well, he did and she was able to come to the United States.

                Walker continued to serve in the United States Army until May 1, 1973 when he retired with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.

                In addition to his time spent in Korea and Germany, he also served two years Phu Bai, Bien Hoa, and Cam Ranh Bay, Viet Nam.  He received numerous citations and awards during his service including the Bronze Star.

                It was an interesting trip for this couple, who has been married for 58 years, in a partnership officials said was "un-lasting."

                The Walkers have three sons Wolfgang, who lives in Reading; Michael, who lives in Allentown; and Steven who lives in Florida.

                Larry began his early education at the Sumneytown School and later at East Greenville High School.

                Though long retired from the Army and back in the confines of the Upper Perkiomen Valley, Larry still has one military service-related he is honored to perform; that is to serve as an honor-guard for military funeral services.  According to Walker, he has performed the respectful task some 124 times.


 

 

 

 

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