Ailene Walker

June 12, 1928 - February 16, 2017
Kalamazoo, MI



Tuesday, February 21, 2017
11:00 AM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A lunch will follow immediately after the service in the Life Story Center.

Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses
2098 10th Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


The life of Ailene Walker was firmly rooted in her faith of God’s Word, her love for family and friends, and her desire to know the stories of others. She was a caring soul and temperate in her discipline - never angered and always ruled with a direct, calm voice. These qualities describe her through and through - she was a true Clopton, no doubt about it.

The year was 1928, and the decade was still very much in full swing with the notable title, the Roaring Twenties. Walt Disney produced and released Mickey Mouse’s debut into the cartoon world with “Steamboat Willie,” while Amelia Earhart became the first solo woman to take flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The world of modern medicine was also changed forever with the discovery of Penicillin, which later created the antibiotics of today. In a world of such amazing discoveries and inventions, Calvin and Louvenia Clopton were making strides of their own with the birth of their beautiful baby girl named Ailene.

In the town of Aberdeen, Mississippi, Ailene was raised as the second child (oldest daughter) of fourteen siblings. Her place hold in the family was fitting, for she very much enjoyed spending time with each and every one of her brothers and sisters. Being one of the oldest, she naturally fell into rhythm helping to raise the growing family. She was a quiet girl who enjoyed reading and playing with the younger children.

She spent her youth attending Okolona, Mississippi schools, and then turned to the adventure of new surroundings when she traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan to live with her Uncle Will. Her first and only true love was found once she was settled into her new home. Donald Walker was riding his bike when he first took sight of Ailene, and he has been known to say that he fell right off his bike in love with her. They were married on February 16, 1947 and to this union, four joys of life were born to create their loving family.

The joys of raising a family and creating the spirit of a warm home was the only way of life Ailene knew, and she did this with an expert hand every day. She was a great mother and a natural homemaker with her excellent abilities of cooking, sewing, and cleaning. Her gentle motherly ways were apparent to others as well, for she was a school crossing guard and involved with creating hot lunches for the kids at the school. She was gifted with the art of making something out of nothing and hoarding bits and pieces of this and that to put to good use later on. Some favorite creations included Easter clothes, crochet dishcloths and various arts and crafts. Fortunately for her friends and family, her talents weren’t merely spent on making things. . .her cooking and baking endeavors were delicious; she made the most memorable fried chicken, pies, biscuits and cheesecakes. Of course, one can’t trust a cook who doesn’t also eat, and Ailene loved to enjoy her good food with family and friends.

Ailene was interested in caring for others, yet she loved to spend time at her six acres of peace known as home. Many friends and family members created countless memories in the house where Ailene regularly hosted gatherings for 44 years. She would invite friends over and want to know their stories, and then have friends of friends over to learn about them as well. Children were always welcomed, and she would be the constant monitor of their activities. Ailene was the matriarch of the family, and no one would once question her on the matter.

Life kept Ailene so busy that she didn’t find the need to obtain a driver’s license until the age of 50! She loved her independence, and learned to drive quickly. Once she took to the roads, she found an opportunity she loved working at Michigan Bell of Kalamazoo where she spent time in the cafeteria, housekeeping and maintenance departments. She absolutely loved her job and the freedom it gave her to get out and about in the community. Even with a working life, she still maintained that her family was of the greatest importance, and her grand and great grand children admired and loved their “Na Na,” as she was fondly known. She kept this desire for the active love of family all through her life, staying in touch and involved even when family members moved away.

Perhaps the greatest part of Ailene’s life was her devotion to God’s Word. As a member of the Jehovah’s Witness Kalamazoo North Congregation, she was a devout servant who was known for sharing the Word with her many loving spiritual brothers and sisters. Gospel music on Saturdays and spending time with her church family sharing the loving Words of God were at the center of her heart. Later in life, Ailene spread this passion by sharing her devotions with door to door service in the community.

Ailene’s ability to keep up with all the love she had to share began to slow down after she experienced congestive heart failure. This didn’t stop her from being able to enjoy sitting in her gazebo while listening to music and enjoying her yard while fondly remembering all the wonderfully rich memories created there - family picnics and reunions, graduations, weddings and receptions. Her welcoming love will be forever missed, and her legacy of kindness and the connection to her family will never be forgotten.

Ailene Walker, Age 88, passed away on February 16, 2017 with loving family members at her side. She is survived by her four children: Jeannette Walker, Merian Johnson, Patricia (Clarence) Atkins and Donald (Georgia) Walker. Seven grandchildren: Angela Eddins, Dartgnan Atkins, Akia Atkins, Tiesha (Christopher) Adebayo, Aaron Walker, Jermaine Johnson, and Charles Johnson. Seven great-grandchildren: Amarrea Atkins, Ashlyn Eddins, Jackson Atkins, Kaylynn, Kendra and Kamiah Johnson, and Christian Adebayo. Four sisters and one brother: Dessie Gates, Lavern Gettis, Lois Justice, Marie Gates and Leon Clopton. Three sisters-in-law: Beverly Clopton, Barbara (Joe) Bizzell and Susie Clopton and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by six brothers and two sisters: Frank Clark, Delma McCullough, Calvin Clopton, Willie Earl Clopton, Johnnie Stafford, James Clopton, Jimmy Clopton and Robert Clopton.

Cremation will take place. Services will be held Tuesday 11am at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center. Please visit Ailene’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can read her story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to: Jehovah’s Witness Kalamazoo North Congregation.

Acknowledgements: On behalf of the Walker family we would like to express our sincerest gratitude for your prayers, cards, flowers, and condolences.

Special Acknowledgements: We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the following: Dr. Joyce Bachman, Gloria Powell, Annette Thompson, Brenda Wilson, and Southern Care Staff.

Thank you for your service, continued support, encouragement and caring for our Mother.

The Walker Family