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 Orton Caswell “Cas” Walker

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Orton Caswell “Cas” Walker

Birth
Sevier County, Tennessee, USA
Death 28 Sep 1998 (aged 96)
Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 8543845 View Source

Age: 96, Cas was a working man’s populist. Knoxville grocery store magnate, newspaper publisher, city councilman, briefly mayor, avid raccoon hunter, and host of his own television variety hour. At fourteen he crossed the Smoky Mountains to work for the Champion Pulp and Fibre Company at their logging camp in Smokemont, North Carolina, using his wages to pay off his family’s mortgage on their farm near the Sinks. In his twenties he worked in the coal mines of Kentucky, saving $850 that he used to buy a grocery store in Knoxville, Tennessee, which he built into a multi-million dollar chain. Married Sally Virginia 'Jennie' Grantham on Dec 2, 1928, in Knoxville. Started a very popular radio show in 1923 and then branched off to TV in 1956 with "The Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour". He had had 27 grocery stores in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia with 15 of them in the Knoxville, TN area. In January 1981 the number of stores had decreased to 22, but he had added eight family stores, which he called "glorified variety stores," and one salvage store. He was an entrepreneur who knew how to turn a buck and had an innate ability for advertising. Nevertheless, he was a natural, never used a script, hosted most of the bluegrass greats and helped launched the careers of numerous country music performers such as Dolly Parton and Tennessee Ernie Ford. This is where Dolly made her first TV appearance and sang her popular song "Puppy Love".


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