Nov. 5—Joe Walker wasn't just the manager of Schemengees Bar & Grille. The job was a passion.
"He loves it. That's why he took the job," said Walker's father, Leroy Walker Sr. "He worked for another company and had a pretty good job but decided to go to work doing this because it's what he liked to do. He's into sports and knew he could make the place lively and bring in a lot of business."
Joe, 57, lived in Auburn with his wife, Tracey. He had worked at Schemengees for five or six years, his father said.
The restaurant and billiard hall would have certainly been busy on a Wednesday like Oct. 25, when a cornhole league was playing.
"The place is packed Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday," Joe's father said. "My son had something going all the time. He had the place busy as hell."
Joe's Facebook page includes photos of him skydiving, attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park and on his wedding day.
"For those of you who knew us from the start of our relationship this man changed my life for the better and would do anything for me his kids and grandchildren," Tracey Walker wrote in a post.
He'd been involved in the community since his teenage years, when he played in softball leagues, and he brought cornhole tournaments to the area.
"He's a great kid," said his father, a city councilor in Auburn. "He's always been great to people. He takes care of people. There's nothing he won't do for anybody."
Leroy Walker said the day after the shooting that he had seen his son at breakfast earlier in the week at the Station Grill Restaurant, where Joe also worked. He said he tried calling his phone after getting word of the shooting Oct. 25, but had no luck getting through to him. "We're all thinking the worst," he said. And it was.
A police officer told the family that Joe died a hero, trying to take the shooter out with a butcher's knife that was found next to his hand when first responders arrived.
"He's just a great overall young man," Leroy Walker said. "People love him. He loves people. If he was sitting here with me, he would just be so sorry about what has happened. A lot of his friends were killed in the same scene. Others were shot up. ... It's just a real tough thing. I know he would be just so sorry something like this happened."
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