Joseph Walker, who turned a Moray bakery into an international brand, has died aged 83.
When Joseph, known as Joe, joined shortbread maker Walker’s in 1955, it employed around 20 people.
His constant innovation saw product lines added and the number of staff rise to a peak of 1700 working in factories in Aberlour and Elgin.
Walker’s products are now Scottish icons known around the world and sell in leading supermarkets as well as exclusive outlets around the UK.
Joe, who gave 66 years’ service to the family firm, had been looking forward to celebrating 60 years of marriage to Maureen later this month.
He died peacefully at home on October 7, surrounded by his family.
Joe was born in Elgin on December 3, 1937, the son of James and Winnie Walker. He was the older brother of Marjorie and James.
He began his education in Aberlour before progressing to Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen.
At the age of 17, Joe returned to the family business, initially for a summer job, but he never left.
He learned his trade, qualified as a master baker and, encouraged by his father and uncle, set about developing the firm.
His son Nicky said of his father: “He was both instrumental and the initial driving force necessary in turning the company from a small village bakery into what Walker’s Shortbread is today.
“He was immensely proud of the company, the brand and the staff and he took a great deal of delight and satisfaction in being able to offer opportunities to many local people who shared his ambition, passion and drive.
“He had a simple philosophy that became his legacy and that was known by his family as the three Hs.
“He always encouraged his family to act in accordance with this in both business and private life: honesty; hard work; humbleness.”
After his retirement as managing director of Walker’s in August 2020, Joe remained as a director and completed 66 years of service.
Nicky said his father was a private man but possessed an outstanding sense of humour.
“His interests included salmon fishing, football, nature and BMW cars but his two main passions in life were undoubtedly his family and business.”
Joe and Maureen had four children: Nicky, Phillipa, Richard and the late Andrew.