Bryon Walker, an employee at the Station B Post Office, passed away Dec. 31 at age 55 after a long battle with cancer.
Walker is remembered as a fighter among his co-workers, such as colleague Buddy Lee. Walker worked up until Dec. 10, when Associate Director for Business Services Mickey Anglea drove Walker to the emergency room himself, Anglea said.
“He just made everybody smile and laugh and he was just a real fighter toward the end. He came to work everyday except when he finally couldn’t anymore,” lead mail clerk Jackie Johnson said. “Bryon didn’t have any enemies. Everybody loved Bryon.”
Walker worked at Vanderbilt for over two decades, coming to campus in 1996, according to a Vanderbilt press release. He worked at the stamp window, ordering stamps and supplies and accounting, and he also helped train the mail clerks on campus, Anglea said.
“He was probably one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met, to a job, and he loved people, he loved his customers,” Anglea said.
Among the employees’ fond memories of Walker, the most frequently noted was his signature trick on students, in which he would add twenty dollars to students’ purchases to joke with them. Walker’s years of customer interaction at the mail counter transformed his role into a post office institution.
“He’s the one that everybody talked to and dealt with. [He was] very good at customer service, very good at helping people,” Anglea said. “A lot of people would call here and want a price on something or whatever–they didn’t want to talk to anybody but Bryon. They looked at him as the expert. He was the expert. He loved what he did.”
The loss came as a shock to students and staff alike. Students, such as senior Johanna Mermer, were surprised, remembering Walker as a constant presence in the post office. His co-workers in the mail room were not aware of the severity of his cancer, and returning to the job without Walker has been difficult for the staff, Anglea said.
“He had the biggest heart. He would give you the shirt off his back. He literally was that type of person,” Anglea said. “He rarely ever missed work, everybody loved him. He was just a genuine good guy. He didn’t want to see anybody suffer, hurt, it just killed him. But he worked knowing he didn’t have long to live and didn’t tell anybody.”
The post office staff hosted a get-together in the mail office Jan. 4 for his colleagues and some of Walker’s family. His family will host a private ceremony for Walker in his home state, Ohio.