Milton Miles Walker, a former Gaithersburg mayor and council member, died Friday at the age of 95.
Walker sat on the Gaithersburg City Council from 1956 to 1974 and was mayor from 1974 to 1976. He served during a time of intense growth and development for the city.
In the late 1950s, the city’s population was around 3,500, according to city documents. During the next few years, people flocked to the city as the Department of Energy came to Germantown and the National Bureau of Standards, National Geographic and IBM opened in Gaithersburg.
The influx of residents spurred the need for more housing, retail and municipal services, documents said. The city’s first two shopping centers were built during Walker’s tenure — Gaithersburg Square and Duvall. Lakeforest mall followed soon after.
Walker’s service also was marked by the city’s transition to a council/manager form of government to allow for full-time administration, as well as the opening of the Casey Community Center and the Gaithersburg Aquatic Center.
By the late 1970s, the city’s population had soared to more than 26,500.
“Thoughtful planning and management were needed to handle this growth spurt and Mr. Walker was at the forefront,” said current Mayor Sidney Katz. “We would not be the dynamic, accessible, welcoming community that we are today without a man like Mr. Walker, who saw what was coming and laid a solid foundation that serves Gaithersburg to this day.”
Born in Washington Grove on May 23, 1919, Walker was the son of Marshall and Minnie Briggs Walker. He was married to Julia Ward Walker for 74 years.
Milton Walker graduated from Gaithersburg High School in 1937.
He worked in Olde Towne Gaithersburg as the owner of Walker’s Market and Walker’s Coin Laundry and Drycleaning for more than 50 years.
Walker’s family could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
Walker is survived by his wife, two daughters, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held at Molesworth-Williams Funeral Home in Damascus from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday. A service will be held at the funeral home at 11 a.m. Tuesday, followed by a private burial.
The city plans to fly its flag at half-staff Tuesday in his honor.