Cover photo for Rosa Nevern Walker's Obituary
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1945 Nevern 2024

Rosa Nevern Walker

June 19, 1945 — March 22, 2024


Rosa Nevern Tallent Walker died Friday, March 22, at the age of 78 at Belvedere Commons in Franklin of Alzheimer’s.


She always knew what she wanted. Even if that meant figuring how to fit the cedar chest made by her favorite uncle into a luggage compartment of a bus at a downtown Chicago Greyhound station by taking off the feet.


She told her parents Claude and Neva Tallent that she had to get married at the age of 16. They assumed she was pregnant. Surprise! Her first-born, daughter Teresa, came three years later, a month premature with labor hastened by lifting the hood of an old Chevy to start the car and a hurricane.


The determined redhead, at least that’s the hair dye she used most of her adult life, refused to bend to custom. She refused to make her daughter wear a skirt in a Chicago winter and kept sending her daughter to kindergarten in pants until school administrators gave in and changed the dress code. She met Pele sweaty after a soccer match and saw the original Chicago Transit Authority before they became better known as just the group Chicago. She loved horses and traveling, though she never went farther than Alaska, California or Key West, Florida.


She also could tell a story. To calm her children during car rides, she promised a Yankee dime to the best behaved. She didn’t hand out a coin but hugs. While working as a drugstore waitress in Florida, she tried to convince her kids they were eating the same meal as hers. Nope. Liver does not taste like steak, but she sure tried to sell the tale as she stretched her money as a single parent.


She was married, and divorced, twice over about 30 years to Harold Walker, who died in July 2002. The only land Nevern and her husband ever bought? Burial plots. Why? Harold knew she would divorce him the instant he bought a house, and she would have. Nevern took it as a sign from God it was time to divorce again when she found a stash of $6,000. She moved from Maryville to Franklin where she worked at the Vanderbilt walk-in clinic for years before retiring. 


Nevern’s priorities in life centered on her children Teresa Walker Smith (husband Russ), son David Walker (wife Tina) and daughter Anna Carlton (husband Jay). She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Marvin Tallent, sisters Maxine Hitch and Willa Mae Kirkland. She is survived by her beloved grandchildren Lawson Smith, Devin Walker and Jordin Carlton and three great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. 


Arrangements are pending but will feature a memorial picnic celebrating her life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Pat Summitt Foundation.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rosa Nevern Walker, please visit our flower store.


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