Basin Park Hotel manager Sheliah Walker dies suddenly at 40

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Sheliah Walker

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Longtime Basin Park Hotel manager Sheliah Walker has died at the age of 40. Mrs. Walker, a Berryville native, passed away on Sunday of unknown causes.

She is survived by her husband, Kelvin; her three children, Christine Tucker, 21, Megan Tucker, 18, and Jonathon Tucker, 16; her mother, Bertha Campbell; three brothers, Michael Ruff, Frank Campbell and Gary Campbell; and sister Sheryl Ruff. She was proceeded in death by sister Charlotte Ruff.

Mrs. Walker was well-known in Eureka Springs as a friendly person that always had a smile on her face and that was willing to do anything to help someone.

She had been employed by Jack Moyer at the Crescent Hotel and Basin Park Hotel since 1997 and worked her way up the ranks to a managerial position, he said.

"She was the one who supported and managed the entire team," Moyer told Carroll County News on Monday. "She was always a buffer for me and I saw her as the emotional support for the hotel. "When you run a hotel, it takes dozens of people who are often unnamed and unrecognized to run it, and she knew how to deliver a high level of service."

Her daughter, Christine, said that working for the hotel was something that Mrs. Walker truly loved.

"She had a very positive attitude about everything, and everyone loved how calm she was in every situation," Christine said. "She was calm even through the toughest times, and she always tried to help someone out the best she could."

As a family, they shared a lot of hands-on activities and hobbies, and Christine said that her life was very family-oriented.

"She did a lot of out-of-the-ordinary stuff with the family," her daughter said. "She always made me laugh -- especially because she would never follow or read directions. One time, we were taking the scenic route to Springdale and we were going to go through War Eagle on the way. We got lost and she wouldn't stop for directions, and we never made it. After an hour of driving we just turned around and went back home."

Christine and her siblings had a nickname for their mom that slipped out of her sister, Megan's, mouth one time. "We called her Debra," Christine recalled fondly. "Every time she would let something slip that was embarrassing we would always say, 'Thanks, Debra.'"

Aggie Henley was a longtime friend and co-worker of Mrs. Walker's. The two shared an office and often joked that they were roommates.

"We were a family -- a work family -- and she taught me a lot about myself," Henley said. "She was a very good friend and was someone I could always go to in confidentiality. She was always in a good mood and had a smile on her face.

"She was always there for anybody, and she kept me going on the bad days," Henley added.

Melodye Purdy came to know Mrs. Walker through her photography work at the Basin Park Hotel and Crescent Hotel.

"She was one of the kindest people I could have ever known," Purdy said. "She was sweet and always had an open heart -- that is very rare for a person. There were not a lot of people like her and she always made people feel welcome."

Mrs. Walker's presence at the hotels will be missed.

"She was the best boss I have ever had in my entire life," Henley said. "I will miss her dearly."

No services had been scheduled as of late Monday.

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