PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Funeral services will be held Friday for the first Philadelphia police officer to die from the coronavirus. His widow spoke through tears to CBS3 about the veteran’s career and the virus that cut it short.
Vita Walker was looking forward to Nov. 8. That would have been the day her husband, Capt. James Walker, retired after 33 years on the Philadelphia police force.
Mrs. Walker is now finalizing arrangements for her husband’s funeral on Friday. She spoke with CBS3 inside her Fox Chase home.
“I said, but if my husband doesn’t have a chance of coming back to being vital, then I would not want him resuscitated,” Vita Walker said. “And I swear to you it wasn’t an hour later a nurse called and said, ‘Mrs. Walker, your husband passed away.”
Walker was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain in early April, shortly after he died from complications of the coronavirus.
Vita Walker is confident he caught the virus while working. She recounts in vivid detail the moments she left her husband at Abington Memorial Hospital.
James, or Jimmy as she called him, had come down with aches and a fever. The two separated for a final time when the hospital asked that she go home because of her own exposure.
“I see my husband still standing in the door so I kind of like waved to him, but he’s looking at me like really strange because we never left each other at a hospital before,” Vita Walker said. “That was the last time I saw him.”
Capt. Walker’s resume reveals a distinguished career on the force. He worked in Narcotics, Internal Affairs, and lastly in traffic.
He was born and raised in North Philadelphia. He went on to earn degrees from Temple University
and Saint Joseph’s University. His love was policing — and family.
“We really had a good life together and we had so many plans,” Vita Walker said.
His wife tells us he was honored to put on the uniform and serve his city for more than three decades.
“He just was always a police officer, always. He loved it,” Vita Walker said.
Capt. James Walker will be buried on Friday with full honors.