Williamson County veteran's death brings a big turnout and a big change

The parking lot at Beck Funeral Home in Cedar Park filled up quickly Thursday morning.

Inside, the funeral for 58-year-old Navy veteran Mark Lyle Walker got underway.

The service was led by fellow Navy Veteran, Rabbi Jonathan Dade. "The unfortunate thing is not a lot of people paid much attention to Mark while he was alive and that is why it is so important we are here to pay attention to him right now.” Rabbi Dade said. 

Walker served in the Navy as a submariner on the ballistic missile sub USS Grant. He died in his Leander home of apparent heart failure.

The gathering of Walker's Military Family happened only because of some routine booking.

Williamson County pays for the burial of unclaimed bodies, however, when Walker came up for review something caught the attention of County Judge Bill Gravell.

"...I saw one line in the email, that I think he is a veteran, and then I had our legal team to do a search...and in fact he served our nation." said Judge Gravell.

The county provided some money, but according to Judge Gravell, the bulk of the cost was paid for by the VFW and Beck Funeral Home.

"...we are not going to cremate him like we do with every other unclaimed decedent in Williamson County. He is worthy of more than that, he served our nation and we will walk with him on that final day...”

— Judge Bill Gravell 

At the cemetery, Walker received one last salute, and one last farewell. However, his legacy continues. According to Judge Gravel, all unclaimed bodies will undergo a background check to determine if the individual has any prior military service. 

"He is no longer unclaimed, the people of Williamson County claim him and are proud to have him as part of our family,” Judge Gravell said.