Russell John Walker
Former tenor sax player with The Zany Woodruff Operation
In his own words…….
After ZWO, my girlfriend Lorraine and I were married, and I entered the RAF for six years visiting such exotic places as Lincoln and Bletchley. However, I did manage to squeeze in visits to Oman, Cyprus and Berlin. My son Andrew was born shortly after I joined up. He’s now got kids of his own (Elliott is 11 and Phoebe is 8). I decided not to make a career of the air force so I bought a house in Mirfield and found a job in Leeds making gas turbine blades. I did that for 17 years rising to the dizzying height of Deptartment Manager. During this time I continued to play rugby with spells at Cleckheaton and West Leeds, playing well into my forties (some say silly old sod!), but I did enjoy it when my son and I played on the same team!
Lorraine and I divorced after 22 years. However we remain real good friends and see each other often. It helps that she also moved to Florida, (about 8 years after I did) and it’s real convenient when Andy and the kids come to visit. I met my wife Carol about 17 years ago when I was on vacation in Florida. We met on a blind date courtesy of a mutual friend. She tried England for a while, but having to run the heating in August made her long for the warmth of Florida. I guess all her friends and family were a consideration too! Anyway, Carol works at the University of Florida here in Gainesville, where she heads up planning and construction. So I’ve switched my allegiances to American football (though we are both big fans of most sports that U of F compete in). College football in the south is absolutely huge, the recent addition to the stadium made it a 96,000 seater.
When I first came to the USA, I went back to college and got a degree in business management (and also played rugby for the University of Florida for one season and then quit – I was too hot and old at 42!). I tried my hand at various things (like real estate), but then I started up my own business and I haven’t looked back since. I do renovations on a variety of properties in town and elsewhere, mostly kitchens and bathrooms, but some are total re-models. My main source of relaxation nowadays is on the golf course. We moved to our current home about 5 years ago, its on the 12th fairway of a golf course, so I’m pretty well suited. Still can’t play worth a damn, but when the bug bites you….well, I’ll keep on hacking away!