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Card Walker, Disney Leader, Dead at 89

December 08, 2005|By Jane Napier Neely

Members of the community were saddened to learn of the death of longtime La Cañadan Cardon "Card" Walker who led The Walt Disney Company for 15 years after the death of Walt Disney and that of his brother and co-founder Roy O. Disney. Walker died peacefully in his sleep at his La Canada Flintridge home on Nov. 29 at the age of 89 of congestive heart failure.

Not only did Walker leave his signature throughout the world as a Disney leader but also in the foothill area with his involvement as one of the founding board members of Verdugo Hills Hospital. He remained committed and active in support of the hospital as a board member for nearly 20 years.

Although Walker was not a board member of Hillsides School, he was a loyal supporter and very generous.

"Card and his wife Winnie were such warm and giving people, said Bob Frank, director of the school. "Our school wouldn't be what it is today without their financial gifts and generosity. Card was one of the most kind men I have ever known."

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For over 30 years, Walker was on the board of directors of Flintridge Prep School in La Canada. Once again his generosity and support of the school was magnanimous.

"Winnie and Card were wonderfully generous to our school," said Peter Bachman, headmaster of Flintridge Preparatory School. "Card was also a wonderful personal mentor to me, so kind, generous and giving of resources and personal time.

"His leadership on the board was pivotal to the growth of our school. Card was a man of fierce integrity and commitment to excellence. He was a very great man and we honored both Card and Winnie in 2004 with the school's Master's Circle award.

Walker's 45-year career with Disney began after his graduation from UCLA. His first job at the company he would later lead began in the mailroom in 1938.

In the 1950s and '60s, Walker worked closely with the Disney brothers on a wide range of Disney projects; including the development of the Disneyland attractions It's a Small World, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and the animated features "101 Dalmatians" and "The Jungle Book."

Walker helped lead the company through the transition after the death of Walt Disney in 1966. As a board member from 1960 until 1983, he was instrumental in helping to expand the company's theme parks, including the purchase and development of 28,000 acres in central Florida that later became Walt Disney World.

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