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Donald Leon Walker, 69, a resident of Haines, died on Monday, March 10, 2003.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2003, at 2 p.m. at the Haines United Methodist Church. Inurnment will be March 19 at 2 p.m. at the City of Mesa Cemetery, Mesa, Ariz.
Don was born in Gilbert, Ariz., with Military Honors. Jan. 13, 1934. He resided there most of his life.
Mr. Walker was a member of the Gilbert United Methodist Church, as well as a graduate of Gilbert High School, Class of 1952. Don took his Senior Year off after a promise to his parents that he would finish the next year in order to grow 640 acres of cotton.
In high school he was selected to the Arizona State High School All Star Football Team, the only six-man football squad member to be so honored. Later he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams but did not play for the current wages were not livable for a small family.
He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. His grandson, Matthew, currently serves with the Marines in the Persian Gulf.
On his return from the Marines, he ranched in Dayville on the South Fork of the John Day River with his first wife, Muriel and two small children. His third child was born in John Day, but soon passed away. From Dayville he moved to Grand Junction, Col., where he managed a 1,000 head cattle ranch. There he raised the calving percentage from 80 to 98 percent.
On his return to Arizona, he completed an Agriculture Business degree at Arizona State while working full time as an Arizona Meat Inspector. Winter weekends he would drive 200 miles so that his children could learn to ski. While they skied, he studied.
Don’s constant kindnesses and thoughtfulness made him many friends. Don met his Lord 20 years ago when he was badly burned in a pickup fire and survived. Don’s question was: “The Lord sent me back to help someone, but who?” For those who knew him the answer was easy for he helped all who knew him.
At various times in his life Mr. Walker was a real estate broker, an agricultural chemical and seed salesman and a State highway inspector. There wasn’t much that Don couldn’t do when he set his hand to it.
Don gave out advice to many people, but he did it in such a wise way that the persons receiving the advice never knew why their actions and ways were changed.
Don and his first wife were divorced in 1983 and he remarried in 1986. In 1997 he moved to Haines to support and help his second wife, Mary Loennig Rider.
He is survived by his father, Fred Walker of Mesa; his children, Dawnie Schilling of Colorado, Daniel Walker of Gilbert, Ariz., Alison Radford of Gilbert and Patrick Walker of Gilbert; five grandchildren, Matthew Schilling serving with the Marines, Brandi and Vanssea Enos of Gilbert, and Timothy and Megan Walker of Gilbert as well as his wife, Mary Loennig Rider of Haines.
The family requests no flowers. Those wishing to may make a donation to the Building Fund of the Haines United Methodist Church or to a charity of your choice.
Used with permission from: The Record Courier, Baker City, Oregon, March, 2003
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor