(l-r) Stormy and Melanie Walker. Photo by Lisa Walker

Melanie Walker, a renowned local businesswoman and community leader, has died at the age of 62.

Since 2005, Walker served as CEO of Japan-based plastics manufacturing company Tsuchiya Group North America, which grew to encompass five facilities during her tenure. In 1994 at the age of 34, Walker was appointed president of TASUS Corporation, the Bloomington-based extension of Tsuchiya. She is considered the first woman president of a Japanese-owned manufacturing company in North America.

In 2016, Walker was nominated for the Board of Trustees at Indiana University by then-governor Mike Pence. She also served on the boards of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, and the State of Indiana Workforce Innovation Council. She was president of the board of the Japan-America Society of Indiana and of the American Heart Association Executive Leadership Team and was a member of the State of Indiana Workforce Innovation Council.

Walker and her daughter, Stormy, were featured in Bloom’s December/January 2017 cover feature, “The Story of Melanie and Stormy: A Life Reclaimed,” which told the story of Stormy’s adoption by Walker and the beginning of their journey as a family together.

“So many are fighting back the tears today with the sad news of Melanie Walker’s sudden passing,” says Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in a statement. “Melanie will forever be so many things to many people around the world. Her combination of a zest for life, love for family, friends and Indiana University, and her globally inclusive work ethic are characteristics I hope every young Hoosier can grow up to embody.”

Walker is survived by her daughter, Stormy Walker; grandchild, Cash; brother, Nathan Walker; sisters, Lisa and Dixie Walker; and mother, Ruth Walker. She was preceded in death by her son, Landon Hart, and father, Dick Walker.