By Tammy Moore Teague
If you have ever conducted any city business, then more likely than not you’ve spoken to her. Her name is Becky Walker and she is Mansfield’s City Recorder/Treasurer. Not only does she manage a great deal of the city’s business, but she also calls Mansfield her beloved hometown.
Walker, daughter of Joe Fred “Sonny” Fry and the late Patsy Repass Fry, grew up in Mansfield and graduated in 1980. She and her husband Robert have two children, Kyle Walker and Mallory Bordelon; son-in-law Scottie Bordelon and three grand-puppies, Sunny, D Mac and Henry.
The 56 year-old Mansfield native began working for the city in 2000. “I was serving on the city council at the time,” Walker noted. Adding that the clerk and mayor’s office needed help. Later, she worked as water clerk for 12 years before running for the office she holds now. “I ran for City Recorder/Treasurer in 2012 and took office on January 1, 2013.”
She added that she loves the challenges that the job brings and that there is always something that needs to be done. Time away from family and demands of the job are perhaps one of the toughest aspects of her work. Walker credits her family, particularly her husband, on being her biggest supporter. “My husband is at every meeting and he comes by and checks in on me. He has been very understanding.”
Walker said the best part of her job is “being a servant to the citizens and being close to home.” She went on to add that “these are people I know and love. I have great childhood memories of this town.” A few of those memories include going into Barnes Grocery Store with her granny, passing by the old laundromat and visiting Jep Tyler, who had a barber shop in town. “He would trim my bangs,” recalled Walker.
Perhaps one of her fondest childhood memories was helping her father mow lawns. “When I turned 11, I helped daddy mow lawns and I saved my money to buy Christmas presents. The store let me put it on layaway. I just have so many childhood memories and it saddens me to see all the changes that have taken place.” Those changes include vacant buildings where businesses once boomed, loved ones and townspeople who are no longer living and an observance of the Sabbath day. “I remember when stores were closed on Sundays,” she added.
Her job is only a small part of who she really is. Walker and her husband are both bluegrass fans. “We started playing music in 2011,” noted Walker, adding that the notion struck her after seeking a hobby to occupy her time after her daughter left for college. Returning to her musical roots seemed natural as Walker recalled playing and singing with her granny. “My granny had an old upright piano that I beat around on and played by ear some. My Granny Fry played by ear and we loved to play and sing together.”
In 2012, the band “Just Us” formed with original band members Art Beaty, Bobby Shepherd, Harley Vinsant, Johnny Loftin, Robert and Becky Walker. The group has played innumerable venues including churches, festivals, retirement homes and fundraisers. In fact, Walker helps organize and aids the city in hosting the Mansfield Bluegrass Festival, which is slated to take place on September 29.
Current band members include the Walkers, Bobby Shepherd, Joe Manes, David Heydenreich and fill-in Bill Campbell. Walker jokingly commented that she suffers from an occasional “bluegrass hangover,” the result of late night picking and grinning sessions at the family’s meeting place-the cabin.
In addition to her many years of volunteer work with the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, Walker has also served on the Western Arkansas Mountain Frontier (WAMF) board as a representative for Scott County and also for the Sebastian Retired Citizens Association, Inc (SRCA). Most recently, Walker has begun serving as the 2018-2019 treasurer for the Arkansas City Clerks Recorder Treasurers Association (ACCRTA). Lastly, Walker and her husband are active members of Fellowship Baptist Church in Witcherville.
Walker said she remains uncertain about what the future holds for her. “I don’t know the future, but I know Who holds it,” she added. But, her hopes for the city are that others become more involved. Her love and dedication for the city runs deep. As she put it, “I love the mountains, the lake, I love the schools. I love Mansfield!”
If you would like to contact Walker about scheduling “Just Us” to play at an event, you can call 479-461-4723. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in our Hometown Highlight, you can email us here.
By Tammy Moore Teague