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Charles Walker III and his wife, Elizabeth, owned Skyview Drive-in in Carmichaels since 2007. The couple died 10 days apart last month from COVID-19.

When discussing the lives of Charles Walker III and his wife, Elizabeth Clara Lysiane Walker, words that might easily come to mind are community-minded.

The Carmichaels residents were involved in a number of community activities, plus they hosted numerous people nightly in the heyday of the Skyview Drive-In, which they owned since 2007.

“My parents were a lot about the community,” said Charles Walker IV, one of the couple’s three sons. “They were really big on the community (with events like) the Trunk or Treat, Christmas events with Santa there, and they also did car shows. They were just all about helping everybody out. They loved kids. They loved to do things for kids.”

Elizabeth Walker, 57, died Oct. 11 in Uniontown Hospital. Her husband, 58, passed away just 10 days later in the same hospital. Both had contracted COVID-19. Walker said his parents were together for 30 years.

“It was mind-blowing,” said Caleb Miller, another of the couple’s sons. “It hurt bad. My mom and dad did everything together. As long as I can remember we did everything as a family.”

Their list of community involvement is lengthy.

Both were members of American Legion Post 400 in Carmichaels, where each was an officer; the Carmichaels Chamber of Commerce, an organization of which Charles Walker once served as president, and the Greene County Humane Society.

“My mom loved her cats,” Walker said. “Every year with the car show, we would have donations to take (to the Humane Society) as well.”

Charles Walker also was past president of Carmichaels Borough Council and drove a bus for the Carmichaels Area School District for many years. His wife worked as an accountant for the U.S. Department of Energy in Morgantown, W.Va., and Pittsburgh.

Their life with movies began as Charles was a projectionist during his time in the military.

Their connection to the Skyview started when Liz took a part-time job at the drive-in in 1998. Her husband eventually became the drive-in’s manager.

“My mom took a part-time job there to help us kids out,” said Walker, 34, who said he has worked at the drive-in since he was 15. “That’s when my dad got involved and that’s when they made the decision to get the drive-in.”

“My dad was the drive-in enthusiast,” Miller added. “Without him, we wouldn’t have the drive-in. They dumped personal money into the business just to keep the drive-in open. My mom did all the paperwork and my dad did all the grunt work.”

In a 2014 story on the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers website, Liz Walker said fond memories of seeing movies at a drive-in was one of the reasons for the purchase of the Skyview.

“It’s partially nostalgia,” she said at the time. “I remember going to the Lima Drive‐In (in Ohio) and seeing Burt Reynolds movies in the 1970s. It was so much fun, and we wanted to keep the Skyview open for a new generation to be able to see movies on a big screen at a drive-in.”

Walker said a decision has not been made about the future of the drive-in.

“We’re going to open it up next season if we can,” Miller added. “If we can run it, we’re going to.”

Movies were shown this past summer five nights a week and as many as 500 people were on hand on some weekend evenings. However, when the drive-in was bustling in the pre-COVID era, that number would be about as high as 800.

Another example of their community involvement that Walker recalled were private showings for area students.

“They would have a movie for the kids,” he said. “It was a private night and only the kids and their parents would come. They would make sure the drive-in was available.”

The couple’s involvements also included the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association.

Charles and Elizabeth Walker met while in the military at Edwards Air Force Base in Lancaster, Calif., in the late 1980s. He served his country in the U.S. Army and Air Force and the Air Force Reserves for more than 20 years. Liz also served in the U.S. Air Force.

She also had a passion for cars. She was a Dodge Challenger enthusiast and loved Mopar cars.

“I think that’s the reason there always was a car show at the drive-in,” Walker said. “My mom just always had a passion for vehicles.”

Miller recalled his mother as being very organized and not afraid to speak her mind and his dad as being a person always willing to lend a hand. He said they will be missed “immensely.”

“We’ve had so much outreach from the community, it’s been unreal,” Miller said. “It really warms my heart. It really does help getting through this, seeing how many people loved my parents.”

A memorial service will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Paul M. Lesako Funeral Home, 204 Dowlin Ave., Carmichaels. The service will be followed by a meal at American Legion Post 400, 205 E. George St.

Burial of their ashes will be at Arlington National Cemetery.

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