Earl E. and Myrtle E. Walker are CEO and vice president, respectively, of Carr Lane Manufacturing Co., one of the world’s foremost suppliers of tooling components.
In addition, over the last 30 years their subsidiary Carr Lane Castings — formerly Brentwood Castings, Inc. — has earned a national reputation for fabricating bronze, brass, aluminum, stainless steel and painted steel artworks by sculptors from around the world. In particular, the 22,000 square-foot foundry has worked extensively with St. Louis sculptors Ernest Trova, Don Wiegand and Harry Weber, notably on the latter’s many commissions for the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, which include sculptures of Jack Buck, Ozzy Smith and Stan Musial, among others.
The Walkers founded Carr Lane Manufacturing in 1952 when Earl Walker, then a welder at McDonnell Aircraft Company, realized there was a market for standard tools to hold airplane parts as they were fabricated. He and Myrtle launched Carr Lane in a wooden garage on South Harrison in Kirkwood, Mo., but in 1953 their old welder started a fire, burning the garage down. Undeterred, the Walker’s relocated to larger quarters and, through long hours and tireless work, built the fledgling operation into a global, multi-million company.
Over the years, Carr Lane has provided parts to the automotive, appliance, furniture and aerospace industries, including six components vital to the Apollo II mission. Their extensive catalog today offers more than 9,700 items, ranging from simple clamps to devices used in nuclear power systems. The company and its subsidiaries — which also include Quality Screw Machine Products Inc. and Carr Lane Roemheld Manufacturing — employ more than 325 persons at several plants and warehouses around the country.
The Walkers, both Kirkwood natives, are generous supporters of civic, educational and charitable organizations throughout the region. These include the Kirkwood School District, The Magic House in Kirkwood, the Kirkwood-Webster YMCA, the YMCA of the Ozarks, Shriner’s Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Trinity Lutheran Church of Kirkwood and the Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis. In 1989, the couple established the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders, which provides professional treatment for speech and language-impaired children aged two to six living within a 75-90 mile radius of St. Louis.
For more than three decades, the Walkers have participated in the COE (Cooperative Education) Program with the Kirkwood, Maplewood-Richmond Heights and Webster Groves school districts. In 1988, they created an endowed scholarship fund at the University of Texas, Austin, and in the early 1990s created a Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) engineering scholarship. In 2001, the Myrtle Agnew Walker Art Grant was established at Kirkwood High School. Most recently, the Walkers funded renovation and refurbishing of the Art Room at Logos High School in St. Louis.
At Washington University, the Walkers established the Earl E. and Myrtle E. Walker Scholarship in the School of Art in 2001. In 1999, they received the Robert S. Brookings Award for exemplifying the alliance between the University and its community. In 1998, they established an endowed professorship in mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. In 2002, Earl Walker received an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
The Walkers have received numerous honors and awards for their professional and philanthropic achievements. In 1990, they were named Outstanding Philanthropists by the St. Louis Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. Earl Walker, a member of the SME for nearly 40 years, was inducted into the organization’s College of Fellows in 1993 and also has received the organization’s highest honor, the Management Achievement Award. Most recently, he was named 1999-2000 Businessperson of the Year by the Kirkwood Chamber of Commerce.