Biography of P. Francis Walker, M.D.

A member of an old and honored Massachusetts family and himself a native of that State and a product of its schools and colleges, the late Dr. P. Francis Walker, immediately following the completion of his medical education established himself in the practice of his profession in Providence. There he continued to be one of the leading members of the medical profession until his death, his active practice covering a period of almost four decades. Though his profession always required and received the major share of his time and attention, Dr. Walker did not permit it to absorb him to the exclusion of other interests. For many years he was prominently active in civic affairs, paying special attention to the furthering of education and public health. In many other ways, too, he left his impress upon the community of which he was a member for so many years, which greatly benefited by his various activities and which will always remember him with gratitude.

P. Francis Walker was born at Dighton, Massachusetts, July 30, 1858, a son of the late Nehemiah and Emily A. (Bliss) Walker. He received his early education in the public schools of Taunton, Massachusetts, and then took up the study of medicine at the Boston University Medical School, from which he was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1881. Immediately afterwards he established himself in the practice of his profession in Providence, where he continued to carry on the very successful and large practice until his death many years later. Interested in everything that tended to advance the welfare and prosperity of the community and of its people, he was particularly prominent in the affairs of the School Committee of Providence and, at the time of his death, he was one of its oldest members. He was a strong supporter of and instrumental in the centralization of high schools, and was one of the leading figures in the purchase of land for the Central High School of Providence and in the building of this institution, now covering a large city square in the center of Providence. He was also greatly interested in the promotion of parks and in the beautifying of the city in other ways. He helped to advance these causes by personally developing real estate in various sections of the city. In spite of his deep interest in these matters of general importance to the community Dr. Walker never held public office, preferring not to do so. He was a member of the Homeopathic Society, the West Side Club, the Central Club and the Pomham Club, all of Providence. He was also prominently active for many years in Masonic affairs and was a member of the following Masonic bodies: What Cheer Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Providence Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; St. John’s Commandery, Knights Templar; had attained the thirty-second degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, and belonged also to Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. By nature a very kindly man and always willing to help those in trouble or difficulty, he rendered valuable and effective service in connection with the work of the What Cheer Charity Committee of What Cheer Lodge.

Dr. Walker married, March 7, 1888, Maude Hubbard, of Providence. Dr. and Mrs. Walker were the parents of three children:

  1. Hope, who married Theron Smith Curtis, of North Attleboro, Massachusetts, and who is the mother of two sons: T. Smith Curtis, Jr., and Stephen Walker Curtis.
  2. R. Clinton, who married Alice Green, of Daytona Beach, Florida: is now a resident of that city and is the father of one daughter, Marcia Jane Walker.
  3. Helen, who married Frederick B. White, of Providence.

At his home in Providence, Dr. P. Francis Walker died, February 27, 1920. His comparatively early death at the age of sixty-one years was a decided shock and an irreparable loss to his immediate family and to his many friends. His death was also greatly regretted by the community in general, because Dr. Walker had long been recognized as one of the most representative, most public-spirited and most useful citizens of Providence. Much of his work in behalf of the city of his adoption will prove of lasting value, and Dr. Walker’s memory is assured of a permanent place in the annals of Rhode Island s capital.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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