Michael Richmond Walker

June 8, 1948 - April 18, 2020 Kennett Square, PA | Age 71 A loving husband, father, grandfather and friend.

Michael Richmond Walker, husband of Kathy Schaeffer Walker, and son of the late William Kirk Walker and Dr. Dorothy Jeane Walker, died on Saturday, April 18th, 2020 at the age of 71 after a decade long battle with Frontotemporal Dementia.

A native of Auburn, New York, he was born on June 8, 1948. He graduated from Mount Carmel High School in Auburn, New York and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Franklin and Marshall College in 1970. While attending Franklin and Marshall College, he played varsity football and was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He went on to earn a Master of Business Administration from Temple University in 1980.

He began his professional career as a staff accountant with American International Developers, Inc. in Rosemont, Pennsylvania in 1971. He helped start a nursing home company called Health Group Care Centers in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in early 1982 where he eventually became the President of the corporation. In 1985, he established Genesis Health Ventures in his adopted hometown of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Over the next 13 years, Genesis grew from a small portfolio of nine skilled nursing centers, into a two billion dollar publicly traded company with 40,000 employees nationwide through the acquisition of nursing homes, rehabilitation therapy, diagnostic testing, respiratory therapy, and pharmacy. In 1995, he was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Health Care in the Greater Philadelphia region. He was also awarded the Wall Street Transcript Chief Executive Officer award in 1995 and 1996 in recognition of outstanding achievement as a CEO.

Since moving to Kennett Square in the early 1980’s, he routinely looked for ways to give back to his local community. When Genesis outgrew its current offices, he created a plan with local business leaders to keep Genesis in Kennett Square and build a new corporate headquarters. In doing so, he was able to keep more than 400 jobs in Kennett Square. He was dedicated to other community-based endeavors such as the creation of Main Street District (the predecessor to the current entity, Historic Kennett Square) and was the first Chairman of the Kennett Main Street Committee that was dedicated to community revitalization. He was a board member of the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley and during his time on the board he served as the Chairman of the Corporate Capital Campaign. He was also instrumental in developing the Exelon site which brought an additional 700 jobs to Kennett Square. In recognition of his civic commitments, he was awarded the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award in 2010.

From 1998-2002, he became keenly interested in public policy and strongly believed that robust advocacy at the Federal level and coordinated political action was critical to helping the nursing home industry survive Medicare cuts. He was essential in the creation of The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, a multi-facility trade organization focused on advocacy and political involvement. Beginning in 1999, he assumed the leadership position within the Alliance and was able to submit appropriate legislative language in several bills which sought to rectify funding cuts to the nursing home industry, two of which were signed into law by the President. Drawing on the success of the Alliance, he was approached by the long term care pharmacy sector to help organize the Alliance for Long Term Care Pharmacy. The Pharmacy Alliance was actively involved in drafting the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement Act of 2003. In addition to his lobbying activities, he served on the Board of Trustees for Franklin and Marshall College, was a member of the board for the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and served as a Vestry member at the Episcopal Church of the Advent.

Above all, Michael was a loving husband, father and grandfather and was devoted to every aspect of his family’s life. He is survived by his wife, Kathy Schaeffer Walker, his son Forrest Sean Walker and his wife Wendy, his daughter Cortney Walker Rohr and her husband Alex, four grandchildren, Whitney Schaeffer Walker, Carolyn Grace Walker, William Alex Rohr, and Charles Walker Rohr, and by his siblings William Kirk Walker, Jr., Patrick Charles Walker, Kelly Anne Bartholf and several nieces and nephews.

Our family extends a special thanks and our eternal gratitude to Terrell Dorsey for the loving and diligent care he gave Michael over the years. We also thank Genesis HealthCare and the staff at Brandywine Hall.

Due to the current circumstances, a memorial service will be held later.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Genesis Employee Foundation, 101 E. State Street, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, 19348.

Memorial Donations

Genesis Employee Foundation

Genesis Employee Foundation
101 E. State Street
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, 19348


Graveside Service

April 29, 2020 4:00 PM https://zoom.us/j/98935622864

Due to the current circumstances, a memorial service will be held later.

Kennett Square, PA.


  1. I am a hospitality consultant and I was engaged to perform a business service for Mr. Walker several years ago. He was clearly a visionary and had great ideas for Kennett Square, PA. He shared many of those ideas with me at the time. He must be so please with the positive impact he had on the town. He told me he wanted to do it for his wife who was from Kennett Square. He loved her so much and he told me so. Mr. Walker was a very fine man and was such a gentleman. Few people in life leave such a warm and kind impression, Mr. Walker was one of those special people. It was an honor to meet him, work for him and to know him. He sure left his mark on me. May he rest in peace with the eternal glory of Jesus Christ, our maker, in heaven for eternity. May God please Bless Michael Walker and welcome him the way he welcomed me into his life.
    Frank Reagoso, Chadds Ford, PA

    Frank D Reagoso | May 22, 2020 at 2:39 AM
  2. Dear Kathy,

    Please accept my deepest condolences on Michael’s passing. I so wish I could express my sympathies in person. I am sending a beautiful poem that I hope will provide some comfort to you and everyone in your family.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awake in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry.
    I am not there. I did not die.

    Marian Hay | May 7, 2020 at 11:04 AM
  3. Kathy, My deepest condolences and sympathy.

    Gail Graham | May 2, 2020 at 3:54 PM
  4. Michael was a close personal friend and an integral part of our family. Through celebrating christenings, birthdays, marriages, and special
    occasions, his gift of friendship and love was apparent through five decades together. Thanks for the memories. With love, Bill and Sue

    Sue and Bill Martindale | April 30, 2020 at 8:45 PM
  5. A remarkable person has passed. The tens of thousands of employees at Genesis will continue to serve our elder communities in honor of his great legacy. Prayers and gratitude to his family.

    We will not forget his efforts and service to our Kennett Square and surrounding communities. May his family feel the warm embrace of God as he made the transition to Heaven, you will be in our prayers!

    Kind Regards, Charlene Hall, Genesis IT Director | April 30, 2020 at 10:23 AM
  6. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the family at this time of loss. I’m sure you are taking comfort knowing his with Our Lord…. God Bless.

    Georgiana Manning | April 29, 2020 at 4:25 PM
  7. To the Michael Walker Family:

    Our most deepest sorrow and prayers are provided your family by ours during this time of mourning for the loss of Michael.
    It is with great appreciation we had the blessing of knowing and working with him for many years as he led Genesis Healthcare to one of the most well established and respected Nursing Center operations in the United States and worldwide.

    Michael achieved this through his remarkable ability to see the need for more compassionate caring of so many ill community elders who entered the front door of a Genesis Healthcare facility located in numerous urban and rural America communities. He was the “ambassador of our elder population” in conveying to all of us as healthcare professionals and Americans our responsibility to stop along our pathways of life to give water, food , shelter and urgently needed quality medical care to those in our aging population. He led this effort with his own grace, sound business practices, commitment and ability to lead and motivate others. Especially his genuine love of family and understanding of community needs.

    Thank you Michael for being our friend and community leader in reminding us all that we, too, must use our talents, as you have, to stop along our lifetime journeys to care for those elderly sick in community needing our assistance. As much as we all will miss you we all know that you have earned your eternal reward in Heaven with the many thousands of men and women you cared for so deeply in your lifetime.

    Frank X. Werner, Sr & Family

    Francis X. Werner, Sr | April 29, 2020 at 11:16 AM
  8. Mrs. Walker, Sean, Courtney, and family’s,
    My deepest condolences on your loss.
    We do not lose those we love,
    We are surrounded by their light, love, and memories always. May we all be surrounded by those wonderful memories we shared in our brief moments upon this earth.
    The Buffum’s

    Rob Buffum | April 28, 2020 at 11:34 PM
  9. My husband Alex, myself, and our daughter, Abby were blessed to have become the in-laws of the Walker family through our son Alex III who married Cortney in 2008.
    Through that happy union we came to love Courtny and her family.
    Both Kathy and Michael were both welcoming and generous people who always treated us as part of the family.

    We have spent many days in PA with them and Sean’s family, always laughing, eating and enjoying each others company. Kathy and Michael were perfect hosts, who always took care of us in every way possible. We were so very blessed to have known and loved Michael as a devoted husband and father, a loving ” grandad”, a great friend and a very special father-in-law.

    We praise God for all these years that our son had the happy blessing to marry into such a loving and wecoming family. And praise Him also that it included us.
    We look forward, albeit with sadness without Michael physically, to many more years with Kathy, the best mother-in-law ever, and her beautiful daughter…..and the best daughter- in -law, our two super grandboys and the rest of the Walker family.

    Michael you will forever live in our hearts.
    Mairlin, Alex Jr. and Abby Rohr

    Mairlin Rohr | April 28, 2020 at 1:40 PM
  10. I was fortunate enough to live with the Walker family through my high school years. Mike, like the other Walkers, made me feel like I was part of the family. Mike was a very special person with a big heart. I was also fortunate to be in the wedding party for the love of his life, Kathy. His wonderful being will be carried on by their terrific kids and grandkids. May God bless all the Walker family, and may Mike Rest In Peace.

    GregoryDManning | April 23, 2020 at 9:49 PM
  11. I wish you Peace and Fond Memories of your time together. May he Rest in Peace. Kathy, I have a memory of the distant past when you
    and Michael were just out of College and, at your Dad’s Opening Dinner for the Administrators of the KCSD, and, I recall you both served
    as two, youthful helpers for the Affair. There were many wonderful years for you and him together.

    Andy Augustine

    Andrew J Augustine | April 23, 2020 at 4:34 PM
  12. Our thoughts and condolences are with your family and we wish you peace at this sad time in your lives.
    Love, Gary & Mary Jo

    Mary Jo O'Neill | April 23, 2020 at 11:44 AM
  13. Remembering Michael and his family with fond memories. He was a true friend and caring community leader.
    Keeping you and the family in our prayers,
    Joe and Ginny Pitts

    Joe Pitts | April 23, 2020 at 11:11 AM
  14. To the entire Walker Family, my deepest condolences. Treasure each memory. His heart was shared by all In the community he built so beautifully.

    Renee Richardson | April 23, 2020 at 7:24 AM
  15. When I first met Mike I called him, “Mr. Walker”. He quickly changed that when I was told, “Mr. Walker is my dad, you call me Mike! I was just 19 when I started at Genesis, in Kennett, as the Corporate Receptionist. We were a true family there! I have such great memories of Mike and his family as the company continued to grow for the next ten years. Kathy would always decorate the office for Christmas and the kids, especially Sean, would stop in to see “Dad”. Sadly I moved away but my mom continued on as the Corporate Receptionist and I sadly learned of Mike becoming ill and his dwindling health over the years. Working at Genesis with Mike was one of the best jobs I ever had! He was an amazing leader and like I said, we were a family there!! He truly cared about each and everyone one of us! To his family, I am so sorry for your loss! A little bit of Mike will live on in all of us! I will never forget him or the great man he was!! I am deeply sorry for your loss.!!!! You’re all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. My God hold you in the comfort of his arms at this time.

    Kristian Testa-Denny | April 22, 2020 at 6:54 PM
  16. Dear Kathy and family, we were sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. Our heart hurts for all of you especially during this time when family and friends are not able to visit. God hold you close and know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Always, Marlene and Tom Brown

    Marlene Brown | April 22, 2020 at 3:38 PM
  17. “This past week our healthcare industry and specifically the post-Acute sector lost a true pioneer innovative thought leader! My sincere condolences to all of Mr. Walker’s family! Thank you for sharing him with all of us! God Bless!”

    Debra Wertzberger | April 22, 2020 at 10:49 AM
  18. My thoughts and prayers for Michaels family. I started my career in long term care at the Brinton Manor and learned the value of quality care and professionalism. As long time residents of Kennett Square the influence of Genesis was evident. A great man!

    Bruce Grissom | April 21, 2020 at 9:09 PM
  19. To the entire Walker family …we are so saddened to receive this news. You all were such a big part of the Sullivan family as we spent many weekends at “Y” swimmeets together and, of course, our children were such great friends throughout their high school years. Michael was always such a wonderfully generous man. Please accept our family’s sincere condolences and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
    Sue, Jim, Bevin, Brandon and Kinsey Sullivan (along with all our extended family members)

    Susan Sullivan | April 20, 2020 at 8:33 PM
  20. Your family welcomed ours with loving arms. I have many fond memories of The Walker family growing up. I’m sending all my love and support your way.

    Kristina Mooklal | April 20, 2020 at 4:44 PM
  21. For the entire Walker family; I wish you the best in this time. I never had a bad experience with him and saw how much he cared for his family and community.

    jamie bintliff | April 20, 2020 at 4:21 PM

Sign the Guestbook

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.
Comments are held for moderation. Please allow 24 hours for review and approval.