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Evening host at WVPR dies over the weekend

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Walker, longtime weeknight host for West Virginia Public Radio, was discovered dead in his home over the weekend.

Walker, 60, was the local host for "All Things Considered" and the station's evening programming. He was also a familiar voice on West Virginia Public Television, produced commercials for area businesses and produced "Music from the Mountains" with Joe Dobbs until Dobbs retired a few years ago. 

Walker joined West Virginia Public Broadcasting in 2002.

James Muhammad, director of radio services at West Virginia Public Broadcasting said he got the call informing him of Walker's death late Sunday evening.

Muhammad acknowledged Walker had been sick for several weeks, though wasn't sure of the nature of his illness.

"He'd been sick before and been out sometimes for several weeks or months to recover," he said. "We thought he'd bounce back this time."

WVPBS News Director Beth Vorhees, just returning from vacation, said she was shocked by the news and said Walker would leave a large vacuum, not only at WVPBS but on media throughout the state.

"He had just the best voice in radio," she said. "You heard him everywhere, and he was just all about radio. He was all about reading well and sounding good. He was all about quality of work and just a very articulate, learned man who knew a little bit about everything.

"He loved being on the radio, and his voice is just going to be missed."

"George was the consummate professional," WVPBS Executive Director Scott Finn said in a statement Monday. "His work was always top-notch and we relied on him for his expertise. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this time."

On Facebook, several co-workers past and present posted tributes to Walker.

Mona Ann Seghatoleslami, who worked with West Virginia Public Radio from 2007 to 2011, posted on her wall, "George taught me a good deal of what I know about audio editing. He'd always help with voicing and recording things; he was alternately a very funny and slightly maddening perspective on the whole WV Public Broadcasting world, and he was always kind to me and supportive when management or my own announcing was getting me down."

WVPBS reporter Dave Mistich said, "George was extremely helpful as I got my bearings starting work at Public Broadcasting. He took the time to show me a few tricks in the studio and was kind enough to give me a heads up on a few stories that I ended up producing. He was also kind enough to soothe my worries as we started work on 'The Legislature Today.'"

Muhammad said Walker would be greatly missed at WVPR.

"He made so many contributions on so many different levels," he said. "He also brought this positive sense of humor to everything. He was a delight to work with and a one of a kind person to work with."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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