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A fading tradition: Hoosier finds passion caring for family, elderly


WINCHESTER, Ind. — As Geneva Bates Walker prepares to celebrate her 60th birthday in a few months, she admits she has had a blessed life taking care of her parents, siblings, extended family and elderly relatives.

As the middle of 11 children, seven boys and four girls, she is part of a fading generation of large mountain clans who put family first and honor their roots. She holds traditions sacred and doesn’t believe in discarding or forgetting the elderly simply because their bodies fail them.

Walker’s family migrated from the mountains of southeastern Kentucky to the flatlands of Indiana when she was just a child. After a tragic car accident that claimed the life of her brother and disabled her father, her world changed. She stepped in to care for her siblings and put her own passions for education aside. She learned to alter her own desires for the good of the family.

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