Local Folks: Brenda Star Walker

Local Folks: Brenda Star Walker
Brenda Star Walker

Brenda Star Walker of Murray Hill could hang your wallpaper, give you a massage, help you plant a garden, tell you all about the 28 Grateful Dead shows she went to in three years, sew a new creation for you, teach you to stand on your head in a yoga pose while discussing her philosophy and quoting the Dali Lama:  “My religion is loving kindness.”

Star Walker lived in  San Marco for many years  and currently resides in a bungalow built in 1920 in Murray Hill. She graduated from Forrest (now Westside) High School and studied business at the Jones Business College (which used to be on the corner of Edgewood and Roosevelt), worked at the Barnett Building downtown until leaving to dedicate herself to raising her son and daughter. She even served on the board of the Jacksonville Children’s Museum – now MOSH.  As part of Jacksonville history, her dad was a toll taker on the Matthews Bridge back when there were toll booths to cross the river.

Star Walker grew up in a traditional home and attended Cedar Hills Baptist Church. She said, “I was always skeptical. so I started learning about Buddhism.” After attending an ashram in Massachusetts at age forty she took Buddhist vows living the principles of “do no harm.” She started teaching yoga and said, “At fifty I started standing on my head and dyed my hair purple.” She laughingly reported that she is responsible for musician Gina Marinelli’s colorful hair. “I put a bottle of purple on her porch and the rest is history!”

It was Star Walker’s epiphany after an accident and a divorce in 2003 from Landon Walker, the former local radio host of Metro when she thought, “Universe, I want a job with heart and meaning.” Her neighbor opened a massage school and Star Walker found her niche teaching yoga and giving massages. She worked at Edgewood Christian Center doing rocking chair Yoga, offered free classes at Memorial Park where she has been teaching what she calls Practice World Peace for 27 years with some of the same faithful people in attendance. 

Dedicated to  wellness, at age 50 she became a vegetarian convinced that “the way we fuel ourselves determines our health. I juice a head of celery every morning.” The celery comes from the abundance of edible plants in her small yard. She belongs to the Jacksonville Permaculture Guild which has a more natural gardening approach, and although she states that she is still learning after five years, her knowledge of edible and medicinal plants and growing techniques is encyclopedic. Her “Yarden” as she refers to it, started with 15 fruit bearing trees which she planted then planned a “tree guild” around each one of  oregano, beans, tomatoes, egg plants, greens, nasturtiums and so much more vegetation that the quote,“ You can’t see the forrest for the trees” can be interpreted as, “you can’t see her house for the forrest.” Generous with her bounty, she has influenced several neighbors to cultivate their small yards as well.

Star Walker’s said she is blessed that her son and daughter live in Jacksonville. She has four grandchildren and spends a lot of time with the younger ones, Owen and Koah. She said, “Being a grandmother is the most profound thing. I hardly remember my grandparents, so I love time with mine. All I really want to be is a grandma.” At age 71 this seemingly inexhaustible woman (called Star Mom by her grands) finds joy and peace in gardening, yoga, working on a YouTube channel, designing a bio friendly HempCret house, jumping on a trampoline with the grand kids, enjoying her Peter Max and Jerry Garcia art collections and making plans for the 26th year of the China Cat Sunflower Festival which she founded to celebrate Jerry Garcia.

All done with a philosophy of, “What I want to know is, are you kind?” This attitude translates into her daily life as a grandmother, teacher, gardener and protector of the earth.

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