Richard L. Walker, 81; Ex-Ambassador to South Korea

From Staff and Wire Reports

Richard L. Walker, 81, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and University of South Carolina professor, died Tuesday of cancer in Columbia, S.C.

A native of Bellefonte, Pa., Walker graduated from Drew University in New Jersey and studied Chinese languages at the University of Pennsylvania.

During World War II, he served as an interpreter for Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in the Pacific.

Walker later earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University, where he was also a member of the international studies faculty before taking the South Carolina post in 1957.


The author of 17 books on Asia, Walker was tapped by President Reagan in 1981 to serve as ambassador to South Korea. He held the position about five years, and Reagan later praised him for transforming diplomacy into a fine art.