George Herbert Walker

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For other people named George Walker, see George Walker (disambiguation).
George Herbert Walker
Born (1875-06-11)June 11, 1875
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died June 24, 1953(1953-06-24) (aged 78)
New York City, United States
Residence One Sutton Place, Manhattan, Kennebunkport, Maine, Barnwell, SC
Nationality American
Alma mater Stonyhurst College, Washington University in St. Louis
Occupation Businessman, Banker
Spouse(s) Lucretia Wear (1874-1961)
Children Dorothy Wear (1901-1992)
George Herbert Jr. (1905-1977)
John M. Walker (1909-1990)
Parent(s) David Davis Walker &
Martha Adela Beaky

George Herbert "Bert" Walker (June 11, 1875 – June 24, 1953) was a wealthy American banker and businessman. His daughter Dorothy married Prescott Bush, making him the maternal grandfather of former President George H. W. Bush and the paternal great-grandfather of former President George W. Bush.

Life and career[edit]

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Walker was the youngest son of David Davis Walker, a dry goods merchant from Bloomington, Illinois, and Martha Adela Beaky. Ely, Walker & Company, which grew into a leading regional wholesaler, was later acquired by Burlington Industries. Walker studied at Stonyhurst College, a Jesuit boarding school in England. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1897.

In 1900, he started a banking and investment firm named G.H. Walker & Co.[1] His family had developed many international banking contacts, and he helped organize the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Walker was known as the power behind the local Democratic Party.

In 1920, Walker became the President of the W.A. Harriman & Co. investment firm, and quickly arranged the credits that W. Averell Harriman needed to take control of the Hamburg-Amerika Line. Walker also organized the American Ship and Commerce Corp. to be subsidiary of the W.A. Harriman & Co., with contractual power over the affairs of the Hamburg-Amerika. W.A. Harriman & Co. (renamed Harriman Brothers & Company in 1927) well-positioned for this enterprise and rich in assets from their German and Russian business, merged with the British-American investment house Brown Bros. & Co. on January 1, 1931. Walker retired to his own G.H. Walker & Co. This left the Harriman brothers, his son-in-law Prescott Bush and Thatcher M. Brown as senior partners of the new firm of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. The firm's London branch continued operating under its historic name Brown, Shipley & Co.

Walker was a director of the W.A. Harriman & Company; Harriman Fifteen, American International Corporation; Georgian Manganese Corporation; Barnsdall Corporation; American Ship & Commerce Corporation; Union Banking Corporation; G.H. Walker & Company; Missouri Pacific Railroad; Laclede Gas and the New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railroad.

In addition to his business concerns, Walker was also a golf enthusiast and a President of the United States Golf Association (USGA). The USGA's Walker Cup (the famous biennial golf match) acquired Walker's namesake for his role in the event's creation.[1] His son-in-law, Prescott Bush was a member of the executive committee of the USGA, serving successively as Secretary, Vice President and President, 1928-1935. He also coheaded the syndicate, (with W. Averell Harriman), which rebuilt the famed sports venue of Madison Square Garden and the Belmont Race Track, 1925. His brother-in-law Joseph Walker Wear was one of the founders of the Davis Cup.

Walker came from a Maryland family of slave owners.[2] He married Lucretia Wear (1874-1961), daughter of James H. Wear and they had six children: Dorothy Wear Walker and New York Mets cofounder George Herbert Walker, Jr., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center CEO Dr. John M. Walker, Sr. (father of Judge John M. Walker, Jr.), James Wear Walker, Nancy Walker, and Louis Walker (S&B 1936).

Walker died in 1953 in New York City, New York, aged 78. He was survived by his wife, daughter Dorothy Walker Bush, grandchildren including George H.W. Bush, Ambassador to Hungary and Stifel Nicolas CEO George Herbert Walker III, William H. T. (Bucky) Bush, Nancy Ellis Bush, Ray Walker, Betty Walker Holden, and many great-grandchildren.