WARNER ROBINS -- In his 16 years at the helm of what’s now the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, Dick Walden accomplished something unusual: He doubled the chamber’s membership. Then he doubled it again.
Walden, 77, died Monday at this home in Warner Robins, 14 years after he’d retired from what was then called the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce. His funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday in the chapel of McCullough Funeral Home.
Walden headed the chamber from the mid-1980s until he retired in 2000. According to his obituary, he previously was president of both the Vidalia and the Lake City, Florida chambers.
His work at the chamber was recognized on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by then-Rep. Saxby Chambliss, who declared that “Warner Robins has benefited immensely from the contributions of service and devotion that Mr. Walden has made to the area. The economic health experienced over the past years is a reflection of Mr. Walden’s hard work and dedication.”
Walden was remembered Wednesday by Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker, who called him an outstanding gentleman who loved the community he worked hard for.
“You didn’t have to wonder where Dick Walden stood. You always knew exactly how he felt. He was not only a friend of mine; he was a friend of the community,” Stalnaker said.
Chamber President Morgan Law said that, soon after taking the helm of the chamber, he sought counsel from Walden. Walden offered timeless advice such as keeping members in mind first and keeping leaders informed.
“Certainly an incredibly respected gentleman and just devoted to this community,” Law said.
The Chamber Person of the Year award is named after Walden. When it was presented this year, Walden was present in the crowd.
That award will continue in his name, Law said.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.