Life History of Weber Read Walker
Contributor: Anne Ryan Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Life History of Weber Read Walker
I was born on September 8, 1916 in Union, Utah. My parents were James Lee Walker and Annie Marie Oborn. Of my birth my older sister Stell writes: “mother was completely depleted both physically and spiritually when she was pregnant with Read. She had gone down to Union from Huntsville to care for her dying father. She loved and respected him more than anyone in her life. He understood her, comforted her and helped her. Mother was to have the home and take care of Grandma. Huntsville was mother’s Eden but she had no choice. Read was born in an upstairs bedroom. Mother was in labor and a doctor was on his way. It was early in the evening. I took Craig, Oborn, and Rose up to the barn. Dad brought up a quilt and we were comfortable in the hay loft. We prayed, told stories and waited. Dad came for us and we saw Mother and the sweet poor little guy—all wrinkled, long and sighing. He was pathetic. He sobbed softly. Mother had done that for nine months! But, there was a beautiful change in her. Her path had been cleared. She loved indescribably that precious gift. He was Heaven sent. Grandma was so helpful and kind. Read was named Weber for the county and Read for the man who gave Dad a good job at the Fish Hatchery in Huntsville and liked us all. He came up from Ogden often and brought us gifts and mother rode side saddle with him through the town. I was so proud of her. Dad made the place thrive. It was happiness. Grandma at last began to see the truth and felt that it was Mother who was making the sacrifice. Grandma took care of Mother and Read. Read soon became a healthy, cute little guy. Mother did not have enough milk, so grandma fed him “sopa” (bread and warm milk). She taught him so many things. She was needed and became a changed person. Mother and Grandma played Cribbage and other card games and laughed at each other. Grandma knitted shawls for us and socks and booties for Weber Read. It was that choice spirit who started the ball rolling.”
The first recollection I have of my mother is when I was a young school boy. I was staying home because I had the mumps, I think. Mother and I were in the kitchen, and she was working. I had received a beautiful red top. It was the kind that you put a string on and throw it and it spins on the floor. I was trying and trying and had no success in spinning it. I hadn’t had it very long, but I kept trying. One time I threw it
over my head. It went to the floor and it really hummed. She immediately gave me one of her beautiful big smiles and said, “I knew you could do it.” It put a thrill into my life that I can’t describe. I felt that somebody loved me, cared for me and knew that I could do something.
One of the first recollections of Dad was going fishing with him. We went down to what was termed in my childhood days as the “woods”, where there were at least three creeks which ran through the area. My Dad put his hook down into a big long culvert where in ran under a canal and hooked into a fish that was a really big one. He got him part way out of the water and it dropped off. As goes one of the old proverbial fish stories, but, in my mind’s eye it was a huge, big, old trout.
One of the first remembrances I have of one of my older brothers, Leo James Walker was when he and my Dad and I went to the canyons. I was really small shaver. We went up to see what they call a claim he had in the mountains where there was a mine. It was in the early spring. We walked up. The streams were really running high. In the night time the streams would kind of slacken off. We had to go through a small pass or gorge where the stream cut through. It scared the daylights out of me. My Dad and brother helped me through it.
We then went up the side of the mountain to this cliff that projected out. We made our way around the mountain to the part where that claim was. My brother took a little prospector’s pick. It was a little small pick that you could carry. He dug into
the vein and it exposed the galena. We brought some of it out. I will never forget it. Then, on our way back, as we got down to the creek, my Dad and brother cut some willows. They always had a fish hook or two in their caps. It did not take them long until they caught a dozen or so nice trout. When we got back to that crossing place, the day had heated up and it melted the snow. It looked impossable for me to get across the creek. As a little fellow I was scared to death to try to cross that creek. They helped me get across the creek and we make it back to the car okay.
One of my first recollections I have of my older sister, Dora; She was married and had a child older that I. We used to go down to Dora’s and Everett’s quite often. From her house we would take the little red wagon and go to what was called the ice house. There we could get a piece of ice for two bits-$.25, and haul it back in the little red wagon to her house and make ice cream. It was delicious homemade ice cream. Then, we would spend the time talking, and eating cake and ice cream. Everett would wait until about two o’clock in the afternoon when the sun had lost a little of its heat, and then we would go out to Black Rock. There was a beach there. We would pitch a little tent around the car and there change into our swimming suits. My mother would put on her swimming suit. We would take a little shower and then come home and have more ice cream and cake. It was so refreshing and so thoughtful of Everett and Dora to take us.
Another of the recollections I have of Everett was when I was about 14 years old. His folks lived down in American Fork. They would often go from Union and visit down there. This particular time we took a ride up in American fork canyon to an old prospector’s grave (This prospector loved to prospect). He said that when he died he wanted to be buried up there among those beautiful flowers around the vicinity of the mine. After his death they took him high in the mountains and buried him in the beautiful acres and acres of flowers. A little iron fence was put around his grave. It is difficult to get to that grave now 60 years later. So, you can imagine the drive we took that day in a Model T Ford, and the effort Everett made that day to take us up there. He was a great friend and a great man.
I remember one of my other older sisters, Stella. She is still alive at the present time (July 1985). She is about 80 years old. She taught school. She loved me and would often bring me home little remembrances. This one time she brought me home a flint marble. In my early days they played a lot more marbles than they do now. I think now how thoughtful of her it was to bring me back a flint from Salt Lake. Stell was my fifth grade teacher. I had a wonderful year that year. It did not seem, strange to have her as my teacher, though it really was. We would walk home for dinner together. She was always a great pal.
I took a trip with my brother, Obe (Oborn) as we used to call him to the Uintah Basin. We took a horse and went back into what we called Dry Fork. We had to load this horse down with provisions to stay three or four days. It was a long ride into the mountains. It must have been my turn to ride. The snitch strap was not tied onto the horse. Off came the saddle and me with it. I did not get hurt, but I will never forget how it seemed to have the saddle, all of a sudden, fall off and me, roll underneath the horse. We went on to dry fork and had a wonderful time there catching fish. We had meals that were out of this world. Obe liked to cook. We just had had a huge meal. Obe said, “I’m going to cook some doughnuts for breakfast.” He mixed up the old batter and sure enough we cooked doughnuts. You know what? We ate them, all that night. We went down and got a drink of water, went to bed. I never knew anything until morning. That’s just how hungry and tired you get on a fishing trip and some of the things you remember.
My brother Obe used to be quite restless and he would take off on freight trains and be gone for several months. He would get a good job, make a lot of money and then came home and stay around for awhile. We used to sleep upstairs and he came home one night in the middle of the night and crawled in bed. I was not aware of it. He had shaved his head because he had gotten lice in his hair. I had been having a horrible dream about convicts and not knowing he was in bed, I was tossing and turning. I put my hand over on top of his bald head, and I thought I had a convict in bed with me. I couldn’t even breath, I was so scared. I tried and tried to holler for help and couldn’t. I finally woke everyone up. I finally realized it was Obe and not a convict. Then I was alright.
I remember my sister Rose who was three years older than I. She is still alive and lives in Sugarhouse. We went up to Little Cottonwood Canyon to an old power house which is still standing but not in use. We had only a poor trail to get to the powerhouse. We fished up the creek. She just had the time of her life. Every hole she would put her hook into she would catch a fish. It got so interesting I almost quit fishing to watch her.
My younger sister Bett (as we called her) and I used to have fun times together. We had lots of experience playing around the old hall near our home. They would have one or more dances a week there. The people would lose all kinds of things there like rings, wristwatches, and money. We would get up early after the dance and go over there and look around. We would have them for keeps, which was quite an affair.
Another thing I remember about my Mother is that she loved to have a fish to eat. About 11 o’clock every morning she would say, “Read go over and bring me back a fish.” We could hear the water running from our house. There was a falls there. Part of it was water from Utah Lake which was chalky and muddy and part was canyon water which was real clear. You could look down every once in a while and a fish would come out in the clear water and you could see his tail. All you had to do was catch a grasshopper, put it on the hook drop it down into the water. Boy, a big one would grab it right then, it was a thrill and a half. You had to bring him up out of that flume. When I got him home he would still be flopping. One fish was all mother wanted. It was a thrill for years to go over there and catch one of those big old trout and bring home to her.
At Christmas time Mother went all out. She loved to make fruit cakes and soak them in wine and put lots of dried fruit in them. They were especially good. She was expert at making dill pickles and everyone in the neighborhood came to get a dill pickle. In my day before there were washing machines and only a few people with hot and cold water in their homes, here is how we used to wash: we would put the old #10 tub outside, put rocks and fire under it and wait for it to boil. It took all day to get it boiling. Then we would scrub the clothes on the scrubbing board. After that we would put the clothes in little balls in cooler water then we would hang them on the line to dry. That day would be all washing. We wouldn’t even have time for dinner. Before going to bed we would have a little meal of some kind. Mother taught me how well simple things tasted. She would take the clabber (that is the milk that cream had been left on and allowed to sour) off and put fresh cream and sugar on it. Or, we would have bread and butter with raw onions. To this day I would rather have these than any of the fast foods or any of the foods that are on the market. I can make anyone hungry like she made me hungry just by fixing a simple meal. People seem to think that it is the best thing around when they see me eating it.
On Christmas time and special occasions I would get something from a friend like a flexible flier sleigh runner or a pearl handled pocket knife. It impressed me that others appreciated me and loved me. My parents encouraged me and loved me. Many times before we would see them again after being away we would throw our arms around each other and I would be welcomed back with them.
Craig was another one of my brothers. I remember a good fishing trip we took together to the North Fork of the Duchesne I think. Just he and I alone went fishing. We camped that night and the next morning of course we were raring to go fishing. We started up towards the creek and met a sheepherder. Craig knew that if we stayed and had breakfast that we wouldn’t get much fishing in. The sheepherder was lonely and had not seen anybody for a long time. The sheepherder was cooking pancakes. I just loved hot cakes. He had hotcakes as big around as a plate or bigger. They were the biggest ones that I had ever seen in my life. I just wanted one sooo bad, but I was too bashful to say so and Craig had already told him we had had breakfast. So, the sheepherder gave those hot cakes to his dog. He just put them on the ground there. Oh, I never will forget how big and beautiful they were. They seemed to me to be an inch thick and as big as the plate. We went on fishing. Craig just loved to fish. He would throw his hooks out there and we would catch great big fish. It was a wild stream. As we came around the corner of the creek there was this huge beaver that couldn’t get out. I remember looking at those two big old teeth and it kind of scared me. We watched him for quite awhile and he never harmed us. We went on down the beaver dam and caught fish and just had a lovely, lovely time.
I remember going with Mel, another one of my brothers (Melvin Ray). We went to this same little creek called Little Willow. He had a wicker fish basket. This was a wild stream. I was not fishing this time, I was walking along. I was really young. He caught 60 fish in one catch. They were small fish because the stream was not large, but they were really tasty. It was cold water. I remember he filled his basket and it was so full that their tails were almost sticking out of the basket. What a wonderful time we had that day fishing together.
I do not remember my one sister Irene very well because I was too young when she died in Canada. They brought her home from Canada and buried her here. I do remember a little about the old home we lived in that Grandpa Oborn built. It had two quite large pine trees on the north side and a porch coming into the house at that time. It was extremely pleasant and cool on that north side and it had an old root cellar out to the side and an old store that was used part of the time as a store and part of the time as a Post office. There were nice fruit trees around that yard. There was this one great big egg plum tree that produced big yellow plums. Oh,
they were so good. Kids were always hungry and these plums were nearly as big as an egg. We also had apple trees. I do not remember my Grandfather Oborn. I just have slight remembrances of my Grandmother Oborn. She liked malt. She lived in one room of our house. She made malt drinks and oh it had a flavor and smell that you could not forget. I can still remember that smell, it smelled so good. I can’t remember Grandma, but I can remember that malt that she had.
I remember an experience my Dad taught me. I had just received a beautiful shot gun. Hunting season came on and I thought it was really important to go hunting. It was Sunday. I knew it was not right to hunt on Sunday, but I took the gun and with a friend went hunting on a hill. My dad was not home at the time. I do not know where he was or how he knew where I would be, but he met me up there. All he said was, “Don’t you think you ought to be in Sunday school?” He walked off and left me. I immediately left, I think, or if I stayed I not have a good time. Ever after that day I felt a great love not to break the Sabbath day.
My Mother taught me little verses and poems. One was “if you want to be neat, begin at your feet.” That is right, shine you shoes and go from there on up, wash your body and put on nice clothes. She also taught me honesty. She said, “Never steal anything, not even as much as a pin.” That is a fundamental teaching of honesty.
I believe we all have guardian angels here in life to teach us lessons. In line with this belief I would like to relate two incidents where I believe guardian angels were sent to teach me. It was Christmas Eve. I was with a friend in his home. There was a big dance going on that night. I had access to a little alcohol. I remember getting a taste of it before another time. I did not know much about anything. My brother, Craig, pored me a little egg-nog in a glass full which had about three or four big tablespoons of alcohol. I thought, “My goodness, brother, you are sure stingy with that stuff.” He stepped out of the room and I got a different glass and really filled one up. I just about had it to my lips and he came in the room again and taught me a big lesson. He took it was from me and let me know that I was doing the wrong thing. I left it alone and he went on out. It was a big lesson I think it was a guardian angel act by my brother.
Everett, my brother in law taught me a great many lessons. One, after he had died. I was visiting again up in American Fork Canyon at the tombstone of the prospector. I had forgotten all about his taking me up there 50 years before. I looked at the monument and it came into my mind, “I have seen this monument before, but I can’t remember anything about it.” I thought about it a long time. It then came into my mind, just like Everett was talking to me, “I took you there many years ago. You should be thoughtful and considerate of others and think of things like that.” I think he was a guardian angel in teaching me a principle of the gospel that I had not laid a hold on.
A teacher is one of the greatest blessings in one’s life. There are not very many teachers. A few teachers stand out in my life that encouraged me to do things that are upright and taught me principles of thankfulness, thoughtfulness, and effort. As a young boy my Mother and Dad taught me to go to church. I had some very good teachers who taught me there and in seminary. I had Carter E. Grant who wrote one of the books of study for the seminary. For Sunday school I had Aurther Gofrey. He later became a patriarch. In school I had Kenneth Brady who also became a patriarch. They all influenced me to strive to do my best.
I had one teacher in Elementary school that I did not care for. One day I had to deliver a note to her house, “well,” I thought, “I can at least show her some fancy bike riding.” She was out on her porch. I thought, “I’ll make a triumphal entry into her yard. I’ll show her I know a little more than she thinks I do.” Well, I hit a pebble or something just as I rode in and rolled right over in front of her. I never could never do anything right when she was around.
My favorite subjects in school were math and sports. One year I took the championship in pole vaulting in field day at elementary school. I also high jumped in high school. I was a good basketball and volleyball player. I played basketball and volleyball for the church. In volleyball I played in an all church tournament. I enjoyed all sports.
When my father died, I was in the last grade in high school. There again, I think Everett as a guardian angel was sent to get me. He knocked on my classroom door and when I saw him, I knew immediately that something was wrong. He told me that my Dad had died. He brought me back to the house there were a lot of people and cars around the house. I did not want to go in. I stayed outside until someone encouraged me to come in. Stell wrote concerning my father’s death, “After Dad’s funeral about sixteen years later, Mother, Read and I were sitting on the couch together. And, out of the clear blue, Read told us very matter-of-factly, just where Dad was and that he, Read, was going to live the Gospel and always do, think, and act right and that we would all be a family together once more. Dad was with loved ones over there. Mother and I looked at each other and marveled. See, once again he brought peace to her when she was desolate.”
I always liked humor—dry humor. This one is about the farmer that had a real sick mule. He called the Vet and the vet said that he was too busy to come by but that he would call a prescription for a pill into the pharmacy. The vet then told how to get the pill down the mule. He said in order to get the pill down you must take a garden hose and put it into the mouth of the mule, and then at the other end the farmer was to blow the pill into the mule’s stomach. The farmer tried it. Later on he met with the vet and the vet asked him how it went, and if he had followed his instructions. The farmer said, “yes, but the mule blowed first!” My children are always sending me jokes and wanting me to tell them dry humor.
I go up to my son Leon’s house in Lewiston Utah often. On the way we stop and visit with cousins. Leon and I always go on a fishing trip together. I feel like Heavenly Father wants me to go fishing anytime I want to and he makes openings so I can go. People that I don’t even know seem to know I enjoy fishing and they enjoy going with me and even provide opportunities for me to go. I know why, because I received inspiration from Heavenly Father that I could go anytime and should go fishing anytime I felt like it. People like to go with me. I go fishing with my sons Weber and Leon and with my son in law, Jack Huff. I joined a fishing club. We have a private stocked lake in the area. There are only five members. Other people put the effort into getting me into the club. I put about $150 a year and I can enjoy this lake and stream with my friends and family. This is a good example of how others help you without knowing it.
The Lord can help one make right choices. I’ll tell you a little incident about plumbing that illustrates this point. I took the preliminary exercises and tests to find out what vocation I might best fit in. The teacher told me I could take anything I wanted as the test did not show one real favorable choice. So, I went on home and thought about it for awhile. Through inspiration it came to me that I should take up plumbing. I went back to the school and told the teacher that I would take plumbing. He said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yes.” I passed the state examination as a plumber. I enjoyed plumbing. My Heavenly Father helped me to make the right choice. Another time, before I was married and before I was a plumber, I needed a job to help me out in education and to help me financially. I asked for inspiration and help to go look for a job. I got on the bus at Union and rode into Salt Lake City. I rode the bus as far as it would go in Salt Lake City. I got out and went into ZCMI and applied for a job. That was the only place I applied. I got the job, as a custodian. I enjoyed this job.
When they write you a letter and say, “come to the army,” that is quite a shock. And so came my letter. I had three weeks to report. I was so nerved up that I couldn’t even enjoy fishing before I left. At the time I was working as an apprentice plumber and my boss was the man in charge of the drafts. He told me he would fix it so that I didn’t have to go and instead could work in the plumbing shop and stay in the store. He fixed all the papers up so that all I had to do was sign my name and I could have been out for the duration of the war. I did not feel that that was proper and I told him so. I went on to Fort Douglas and was drafted. I was sent to basic and camp at Fort Grant , Illinois, and from there to El Paso, Texas where I was assigned to the 1st Calvary Division in the First Medical Squadron. From there I took training at Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado. I got along fine and through that training was made a corporal. From there I decided to try for officer’s Training School in the signal corp. I did not get along well and never completed that portion of the Army, but was returned to my original outfit. It was a disappointment, but it must have been the will of Heavenly Father that I did not become an officer at that time.
From there we went to Brisbane, Australia and took training and started combat with the enemy. We first went to New Guinea. This was a very hot and humid country. I caught malaria there which caused me great sufferings and still does this many years after the war. From there we went on to the Admiralty Islands. There we met with our first enemy resistance. Enemy planes were flying over our heads and much killing and suffering was going on. I saw many dead piled up on the ground everywhere. From there we went to the Philippians islands. We were met with much resistance there and I had many faith promoting experiences where the whispering of the Holy Ghost came to save my life.
One time we were marching behind tanks in what was called a mop up operation. The enemy had been driven out, but still some remained and we were to go through and find those that remained in Manila, Philippines. As we would march along we would go ten to fifteen minutes and then we would stop and search out the area. When there was resistance we would send flame throwers to shoot flames into fox holes where we thought enemy were. We stopped at one place and I received the impression very strongly that I should take cover. I walked over to some buildings that were close and stood behind them. The spirit whispered again that that place was not the right place and I pushed up a pile of dirt and I walked over there. I no sooner got behind the dirt than artillery shells started to fall. Two of those shells landed and wounded and killed twenty-one people right in the vicinity where I was prior to taking cover. That inspiration was a source of strength to me. My life was preserved at that time. I remember seeing the wounded with shrapnel poking out of their arms and helping with the medical end.
Another time the spirit directed me so that my life was spared. We were camping in Manila during an inactive time with not much trouble going on. We were sleeping outside of the buildings because it was a hot country. The spirit directed me that I should tell my officers that I was sleeping outside. Everyone else was sleeping outside and it seemed very immature and foolish to everyone that I would tell. I first went to my Corporal. He said he didn’t care, and to sleep where I wanted to. The impression still remained with me to go to a higher authority. So, I went to my First Sergeant. He again thought I was foolish to tell him such a thing. It didn’t matter a hoot to him where I slept. The impression remained that I should go one step higher. I went to the Commissioned Officer. He very wisely directed me to not sleep outside. I followed instructions and that night artillery shells fell outside and took many lives. It probably would have taken my life had I not listened to my prompting at that time.
Another time we were marching across country knowing that the enemy was there. We were pushing them out of the territory. We had been up there probably four or five days and I was sent back with some men who were sick. As I got back to the camp I didn’t feel like staying there. I felt like I would like to be back with the rest of my company. The Captain said, “No, just stay here.” Here again the same thing happened—artillery shells fell in the vicinity of my camp where I would have been. One man was killed as shrapnel went right through his throat. Another man’s leg was hit and it had to be cut off. These were men that I was acquainted with and had been in their presence. You can plainly see that my life was in the hands of my Heavenly Father and was not to be taken.
One more experience to show how the blessings of the Lord rested upon me; I was again in enemy territory on the march. I was in charge of a litter squad. That means we carried stretchers with the purpose of taking wounded back to safety and help. The group ahead of me was carrying the litter, and I was behind them. We went over a little rise and started down the hill and the enemy opened fire. We left the litter there and went back over the rise to safety. I felt impressed that it was my duty to go back and retrieve the litter because it was no good to anyone down there. So, I immediately ran down the hill and brought the litter back over the rise without thinking of anything else. As a result my name was handed in to receive the bronze star. I knew it was my duty to defend and I never gave it another thought. It was recognized by those around me and I never knew it. Following is a letter sent to my brother Mel about the medal I received:
Mr. Melvin R. Walker
Headquarters 1st Calvary Division
Office of the commanding General
14, April 1945
Dear Mr. Walker:
I recently have had the honor and privilege of awarding your brother, Corporal Weber R. Walker, 1st collecting Troop, 1st medical squadron, the Bronze Star Medal.
This Medal is an award authorized by congress and presented in each case by direction of the president, to military personnel for outstandingly heroic or meritorious achievement during actual combat against an armed enemy of the United States.
I take great pride in having Corporal Walker as a member of my command.
S/ Hugh Hoffman
U.S. Army Commanding
The living conditions in Australia were really great. I was a thin man weighing roughly about 165 pounds. In Australia I got up to nearly 200 pounds. It was semi-tropical with lots of nice food. I enjoyed the stay there. We were back in the hills about 25 miles out of town and we could go 100 yards from camp and see wallaby—a wild kangaroo. It was interesting seeing them stomp their feet on the ground to alert the rest of the wallaby that someone was there. In Australia there was lots of wheat when it was scarce elsewhere. There was lots of clean air and a nice ocean breeze. I felt really well.
When we went into the island there were coral islands meaning the beaches were built up with shells and dead animals, like sand. It was right on the ocean. The ocean breeze made you feel like you were walking on air as you would walk on those coral beaches. The living conditions there were meager. It was hard on moral and health of soldiers. Many of them got jungle rot. That is where the moisture and fungus would get on your body and you could not wash it off and it made sores. I got sores on the sides of my feet. Some men were sent back to a different climate to cure them. Lots of soldiers got malaria and other diseases. It was awfully humid and uncomfortable night and day. Soldiers with heat rash would line up for a block at the dispensary. It felt like your whole body was full of pins and needles and you couldn’t sleep. They would paint you with calamine lotion, but it would not help.
One day I asked one of the old Pilipino men what to do for heat rash. He said not to take a bath in the evening after we got through with our duties. He said to take a bath in the morning after we had rested all night and not in the heat of the day. He said to put rubbing alcohol on the skin. This immediately stopped the rash. I have thought many times how he had more common sense than the whole U.S. Medical on taking care of that particular thing.
We slept in fox holes without any blankets or anything. In the rainy season it was terrible. You had to stay in your hole at night and it was wet and miserable to sleep in those fox holes.
While I was overseas I received word that my mother was not expected to live. I tried to get to come home but was refused because of war time. So, I asked some of my closest friends to go into the woods away from the others and offer prayer in her behalf. A consoling feeling came over me. My mother passed away but I felt a consoling spirit and blessing of those around me in comforting me at the time. My closest friends were Perry Piercy who we named my son Perry Leon after, and Alvin Davis. I had many choice experiences with my friends.
I was drafted into the military in 1941 before Pearl Harbor and went overseas immediately after Pearl Harbor. I was released in 1945. Following are some letters I wrote to my sister Stell during these times:
Hello Stell Dear, I’m fine, happy alright. It is Sunday today. I wish you a happy thought, a cheerful countenance for your birthday. Lydia wrote. It is always good to hear from someone. Knowledge, understanding, wisdom comes from you all. I sure do think Craig is a grand guy. He has a sense of humor and a concern for the happiness of others. I know all your prayers for me are effectual, And that prayers are answered. My thoughts are often home, always wondering if everyone is alright, especially Mother. Write exactly how you feel everything is. Love to all, Read.
Dear Stell, Hello, Long time since you have heard from me, and I haven’t heard from you for some time either. I’m well and alright and hope you all are well. Coming spring fast I guess. This is a different sort of island, covered with coconut palms. The formation of the ground is a formation caused by the sea. I think lots of times of being home. And, I can see those huge mountains with the clear fresh streams, and the valley with crops in. They are a part of me. How are the kids? I heard Dale is about to become a proud father again. Rose sure is happy with Catherine. I love to hear from you. Mother, The last I heard was well. Kisses, Read.
Hello Stell, I like you because your ideas are so young. Because you are very thoughtful, very tender in your thoughts for others, because you are a good hostess, because you are free, because you love truth, because you are original, and the best of all because you are like Mother. She truly by her ways helps us to be virtuous. As her blessing said, “Courage engenders courage; love engenders love.” Or in other words we try to be like her. I’m fine and sure hope you keep up the good work and send a letter often. I’m in New Guinea. It is very different, very hot, very everything. That must have been some walk down to school. Somehow I still like school, ha-ha. They have good coconuts here. The natives are Negroes (fussy wussies). They would give you all they had for an old farmer’s handkerchief. The rains are like where you were in the jungle too. Cheers to all with a hug. I’m getting along O.K. Read.
Dear Stell, Is the spring time breaking in them thar mountains? Sure am hoping to enjoy the change of seasons. I don’t believe I like the continual green. The quiet fall with the evenings frosted, the crops to harvest seem good to me. The tinge of color in the hills, the prelude to their sleep for a season, the ripened harvests, all symbolize our lives. The older persons enjoying the fruits of a life of experience, the fall of their lives on earth. How nice, then, is the knowledge that we will live again and be with each other having been schooled a short season on earth, to broaden our capabilities for joy. And, we will continue as we left off. Always glad when Friday rolls around for your letter, Read
Stell was glad of your letter. They make me feel near you and warm my heart and feelings. That is a part of health. That is a part of our heritage. And we pass it on by our deeds. We love Mother because she gave us and teaches us the art of living. She shows us diligence, valor, wit, and is joyful when we are doing things to be happy. I’m fine. I wish I could be with you on Thanksgiving and Christmas and enjoy the kids and talk to you all. Catherine had red hair, “red” and I bet Rose and Phil are happy. Rose treated me grand when home. Me and Mother and Bett went to her home. Be glad when I can visit you all, Love Read.
Dearest Stell, I would like to write you the gifted words of some inspired writer, because my thoughts are high in yearning for you tonight. So, I must say hello—what are you doing in your home? You write and I feel a part of it. I do when I’m with Rose, Bett and every one of my brothers and sisters. I have been reading some of Elder Widsoe’s writings and others in some Deseret News clippings. They are faith promoting. My mind is always stirred when I hear of Mother and how she is. I’m pained when she is sick and tired and I know you are. She inspires me every day. Tell me what good times you have had and your new friends. How is the garden coming? It will sure be grand to be with you all when this is over. Keep smiling. I love you, Read.
Dear Stell, I feel glad for the feelings I have. I believe that it was time for Mother to go. And like you all done everything possible to make her happy. And that my responsibility is to live for all there is in me. That is the way mother did. And, I know that would make her happy. I think what a grand rejoicing must have filled the air when Mother met Dad and Irene and Craig and all; she knew. She was such a noble person. I can’t think of her as far away. All that I can think of is thankfulness for the knowledge of the gospel and for the blessings I have. I will be hoping for a letter. Tell me about you all. It will be truly great to be home and with everyone again. And, in the mean time be sure and write. Love to all Read.
Howdy Stell and Ed, Hope you are well and Craig and Sue are. New Years Eve is tonight. Write and tell me about the kids Christmas. Was it white and pretty in the mountains? I sure have something to show in the knife you sent me. It is about the only thing, very handy and neat. Here is a beautiful wish I like—A wish sincere for you today is put with in a prayer that He who loves and watches over will keep you in his care, Love Read.
Life in the Army
I felt it was my duty to defend my country in the best way I could. I enlisted in the army in 1940 and received my basic training at Camp Grant, Illinois as a medic. From there I was assigned to the First Cavalry Div. and sent to Ft. Bliss, Texas. After about one and a half years training in fort Bliss, I was sent to the Ft. Simmons General Hospital in Colorado for additional medical training. By the end of this training I felt a desire to take officer training. Because there was no opening for an officer in the medical division, I applied for officer training in the signal Division in New Jersey. Signal training proved too hard for me- I failed to pass the test. I returned to the same outfit in Ft.Bliss, Texas. Soon our division was shipped to Australia by way of a luxury liner which had been remodeled to transport army troops. We were on this ship for about ten days. Even though there was hardly standing room anywhere on this ship, I enjoyed the boat ride. I loved the idea, the movement and life in the water and the beautiful colors that were reflected on the water. Each man on this ship was given a 3x6 foot strip of plywood to lay on the floor. This was our only personal quarters, no partitions for privacy. I said my prayer at night when the lights were out. Everyone had lots of free time. I read many hours in my Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants combination which I brought from home. The only other gear I had was clothes, canteen for fresh water and a pistol-belt to hold my canteen around my waist, a gas mask, a meshedie knife, a mess kit and a back pack. Eating on this ship was quite an experience. We had no chairs, but stood up with our plate of food in our hands to eat. The movement of the ship would slide the food or plates or salt shaker out of reach. We had to bathe in salt water while on the ship. Fresh water was too scarce. We used a special kind of salt water soap. I remember how happy we all were to get to Australia where we could bath in fresh water. Yet the cold, fresh water of Australia was so cold I would have a head ache for two days after each bath. Eventually our unit in Australia got hot water. Our ship traveled in a zigzag method all the way from San Francisco to Brisbane, Australia. While on the sea we had many air alerts because of the closeness of the enemy, which were sealed water-tight by locked, steel doors. This was designed in this way so that if the enemy attacked one of these quarters, allowing water to full it, the water could not get out to sink the rest of the ship. I was not aware of any other Latter Day Saints on this ship. We were given no duties while on the ship, but were free to go and do whatever we felt like doing.
I enjoyed my stay in Australia. The army food there was very good, Fresh fruits were plentiful. Army life there was not too strenuous. I gained much weight, weighed nearly 195 pounds. From Australia we shipped to New Guinea. Here we spent two weeks preparing to invade the Admiralty Islands. After these preparations we moved to the Admiralty’s where we spent at least four months regular warfare. Our next operation was in the Philippines. It was here that L.D.S. group meetings were available to me for the first time since leaving Australia. These meetings were appreciated. While in the Philippines, I received word that my mother was not expected to live. I tried, but failed to get permission to come home for her funeral. At word of her death, I called together two close L.D.S. friends, Alvern Davis and Perry Piercy, to have prayer with me. This relieved the tension and gave me comfort to carry on.
I have been taught to keep the Sabbath Day holy. For a while after I first arrived overseas there were no L.D.S. meetings of any kind in my area. So I followed the crowd by participating in volley ball games. I even because quite proficient and played in competition games. I enjoyed this very much. My ability was much sought after. Something inside me told me that Sunday wasn’t the proper day for sports. I obeyed my conscience and spent Sabbath day reading the scripture, writing letters home, resting. It seemed that after I decided to keep the day holy, the opportunity opened up. Soon after this I learned that other L.D.S. soldiers on another island were holding group L.D.S. Sacrament meetings. I was allowed to go by boat to these meetings. During my life overseas non-L.D.S. men watched my actions constantly. Somehow they were aware that I abstained from the use of coffee, tobacco, and alcohol. I want my children and descendants to know that I stayed true to the faith, trusting in my Heavenly Father and felt His blessings often. I fully obeyed the word of wisdom and the law of chastity, entering to my marriage as a clean person—passing to my posterity a good name that was given to me.
News Paper Article
Weber Read Walker was interviewed as part of the Orem Veterans Oral History Project. A summary of that interview appeared in the ‘Orem Geneva Times’ on February 19, 2004. It gives a good summary of his experiences during World War II. The following is what was in this article about his experiences during the War.
W. Read Walker, now 88 years old, served four years as a medic and took part in three campaigns in the South Pacific; New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands, and the Philippines. Medics went in with the invasion forces, and thus experienced the same battle risks as the infantry and marines. Read received two Bronze Stars for special performance of duty. He articulates plainly his commitment to defend his country, as well as some lessons he learned from his service.
“It was the right thing to do, to get drafted. I could have got out of it, because I was the only male child left home with a widow mother-the last of the Mohicans on the male side. I could have been easily exempted. My boss was head of the draft board and wanted me to stay and work for him in his plumbing shop. But I didn’t feel right about that. You know when you’re supposed to go and not supposed to go. I knew I was supposed to be in the service.
I received medical training at Fort Grant, Fort Bliss, Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver, and near Brisbane, Australia, before I was sent to New Guinea, a stopping-off point on the way to the invasion of Admiralty Island. Between Australia and New Guinea, I picked up malaria, which is terrible. I’ve suffered from it in different ways all my life. You never get over it completely.
On Admiralty Island, the Japanese were everywhere. You could hear them talking at night. They knew we were from El Paso, because they’d sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” They were that close to us.
My adjustment to combat came all at one time. The Japanese started firing at us, so we men left the litter and ran back to the lines. My job then was to go down and bring that litter back. So I told the sergeant, “Shoot over there and watch me.” I went down, picked up the litter, and ran back, where it could be used. From then on, I knew what I was in the war for. Till then, it might have been just a party, but from then on, I knew what my duty was.
I learned a lot of tricks in the military. The one I learned was that if you borrow money to somebody, you kiss it good-bye. Overall, the military is a place where you learn to take care of yourself, and not be pushed around by people- that comes with the training. When you come back, you’re a different person than when you left. You can irritate an awful lot of people in the service, especially if you take a stand on what you believe.
I knew what I was in the army for, what a man was to do to defend the country. I learned the power of the individual and how to take care of myself. There wasn’t anybody who could pull the wool over my eyes. The army was good training. You don’t understand that unless you go through it. When you’re in enemy territory, you get a feeling for what you’re there for, and you never forget it. I think the war was right- we were fighting for a cause that was right.
I could have stayed home, but I felt I was fighting the right cause, and I gained from those experiences. When I came home, I felt I could think more clearly and do what I wanted to do, and not be influenced by anybody.
I’ve talked more about the war in later years than before; it has just come to my mind a little more.
Courtship with Dru
I had earned enough “points” during my four years in the army to be allowed to return home the first part of 1945. I was required to report at Fort Douglas in S.L.C. where I immediately received my honorable discharge. For an unconscious act of bravery while in active army duty I was awarded the Bronze Star. In early fall of 1945 my close army friend, Alvern Davis, who had been writing to a young missionary, Drucilla Fenn, came to Salt Lake to visit me and her. He asked me to accompany him to meet her. She lived in the beehive House at this time. (The remainder of this story is told in the words and opinion of Drucilla) The receptionist at the Beehive House rang my room to tell me two gentlemen were downstairs wanting to see me. As I was coming down the stairs, Read told me afterward, he told Alvern, “There is a girl I would not like to go out with. She thinks too much of herself.” I looked all around the parlor for a familiar face and seeing no one I thought, “There’s been some mistake.” Thereupon two boys, both strangers to me, walked up to me and said;” don’t you know me?” I had been writing to him but had not met him. My room-mate and I double dated these boys this same night. It happened that I felt a kindred spirit with Read but not with Alvern. After two busy weeks trying to get acquainted with me, Alvern returned to California. Read continued to call on me often. As I remember, our first real date alone was to his sister, Rose’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, we dated often. I became so exhausted from working full time, going to night school, dating and etc; I decided to go to my parent’s home in Benson, Arizona to rest. Read wrote me an air-mail letter often. I invited him to come to Arizona for Christmas. Never did I think he would, so did not even plan on it. It turned out that I decided to return to Salt Lake to be with him, He was on his way to Arizona to be with me. That was a lonely Christmas for both of us, but one we haven’t forgotten. During all this traveling Read was a very sick man. Upon his arrival back home the Dr. diagnosed his sickness as malaria and immediately rushed him to the Veterans Hospital There Read said he was cared for and treated like a king. He stayed eleven days, I visited him often. Read wants me to describe my visits as “grand and glorious”. We continued to date for about three more weeks, and then decided to get married. We boarded a bus for Arizona to meet my folks for the first time. My parents, my sister, Margorie and her good husband, Tony Anderson, and my wonderful grandmother, Emma Morris, traveled with us to the Arizona temple where we were married February 1st, 1946. Marjorie’s husband and my childhood bishop were our witnesses. The temple president counseled us to never let a day go by that we don’t tell each other “I love you”. My Mother’s sister, Rose Nelson, invited us to spend our first night in her home. Mother’s Sister Dessie Nelson, prepared a dinner for us the next day. Aunt Dessie whole- heartedly approved of Read. She said she felt that he was the type of man who would cooperate with me in all I tried to do as a wife and mother. He has. We held our reception in my home ward in Pomerene, Ariz. This was the same chapel I and my other brothers and sisters were blessed and confirmed members of the church in by my father. Our reception was an evening of dancing with friends and relatives and of course my new husband. Our only expense was the cost of a local, live orchestra. Refreshments consisted of cakes and ice cream which was contributed by friends and relatives. My cousin even gladly made us a wedding cake. This was the way all weddings were done in our ward in those days. It was a party for all. Read says he remembers how thoughtful my mother was, making sure even his tie was straight. He also says he remembers the thoughtfulness of my sister, Margorie and her husband, Tony Anderson.
My good, unselfish father loaned us his car for our honeymoon. We drove it to El Paso, Texas to visit some of Read’s friends. We spent several days and nights in the home of one of these, Joe Kleinman. As Read expressed it, he treated us “grand”. Then we traveled on to Carlsbad Caverns. We were happy so everything looked good to us, except the bad lights on my father’s car. Read had been wearing dark sunglasses during the day and forgot he had them on. He blamed the car lights for making it so hard to see at night.
Read saved enough money from his army pay to put in a furnace and other repairs on the old home in Union. His same savings paid for our courtship activities, our bus trip to and from Arizona to be married, our orchestra for our wedding reception, our honeymoon and rent and food for three months after our marriage.
Soon after our marriage Read got work at Sugar house for K. & K. Plumbing and Heating. He continued to work at this same place for twenty-three years. It was only plumbing repairs work and the pay was very meager. At first he worked as an apprentice plumber, and then enrolled in night school at West High School to prepare himself for the journeyman plumber’s license. He succeeded in passing the state test and obtained his journeyman’s license. This did not increase his pay. Finally he became discontent with his income and place of work, so quit and moved to Orem and began working as L.D.S. custodian in Orem, Utah
Read had always treated me with the greatest love and respect-like I were a “queen”. Seldom a day goes by that he does not tell me many times, “I love you.” Just a few days ago he said to me,” I want you to know you are the best pal I have. I love you.” He always looks for the good in me and others, forgiving the faults. Over the years I have taken joy in seeing him treat all women with the same respect he shows me. At one time he and I attended an activity where one of my former missionary companions and her new husband were present. I noticed my companion’s husband failed to help her on with her coat or set her chair up under her at the table, as Read did for me. I remember thinking to myself, “Look what I got.” He had been an example of pure love for me to pattern my actions after.
50th Wedding Anniversary
On Read and Dru’s 50th wedding anniversary held February 1, 1996, each of their children wrote a letter of tribute to their parents. The following are these letters which tell of their children’s love and appreciation to wonderful parents.
A tribute to Weber Read Walker by Weber Andrew Walker:
My father, Weber Read Walker, must have watched his father work in a garden and inherited a love of the soil. He has always spent hours and hours in his many gardens. Anyone who knows Read Walker and has seen his summer gardens would agree that he really knows how to grow a garden. The quality, quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables grown each summer could rival any garden anywhere. Daddy is in his glory when he can take someone on a tour of his garden. He has tried many new and unusual varieties such as artichokes, peanuts, yams, giant radishes, lima beans, Indian corn, okra, and things with names you can’t even say. Perhaps his success stems from weeding a lot or watering just right or talking to his garden or a prayer now and then or perhaps a lot of love and a secret or two from his father from years ago. He will certainly be remembered for his wonderful gardens each summer.
If Daddy has any weakness, it would have to be that he goes fishing too much. All of the children of James Lee Walker seem to have this same trait and this tendency seems to have been passed on even to many of the second and third generation of Walkers. Going fishing with Daddy is a real experience. You may get lost. You might catch fish or you might not. You might go to a new spot or an old favorite. But one thing is for sure, you will have fun. Daddy is a cheerful camper who helps more than his share and is always pleasant to be around. When he catches a fish he is like a kid at Christmas time. He could fish in a lake which had no fish in it for three days before finally giving up. Some of the fondest memories that we, his children, have are of going fishing with their Dad. We have heard him talk of his memories of going fishing with his dad years ago. He often says that his Mom would send him to get a fish for lunch in Union and he could catch one pretty quick most of the time.
Daddy likes to go visiting people. He must have watched his Mom and Dad do the same. It is a rare Sunday afternoon that doesn’t find Momma and Daddy visiting somebody. When we were all young they would take us all on these visits which were often on Sunday evenings after church. Family members, old friends, the sick or the elderly have often been cheered up with such a visit. If more people did the same the world would be a better place. Words cannot express the good accomplished by these hours of visiting.
Daddy likes to tell a joke or quote something from memory. Every time you see him he has a new joke. He even has a joke for the doctors when he goes to visit them. They are witty and sort of a dry humor. It’s too bad they aren’t all recorded. They would make really good reading. Daddy always taught us with one line sermons like, “It takes two to quarrel.” or “If you want to be neat, begin at your feet.” or “Never take anything that isn’t yours even if it’s only as much as a pin.” Theses bits of wisdom and good clean jokes have given Daddy a charm and a character that makes him unique and special. They reflect his heritage.
Daddy has inherited many of the good old pioneer Christian virtues. Honesty, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, family prayers and hard work are but a few. Family prayer was always practiced in our home. We would always kneel at our chairs at dinnertime. It was an anchor that stabilized our family. Even on fishing trips, prayer was included. The Sabbath was kept holy and scriptures were read often. This is a heritage that should be passed on by each of us to our families.
I realize keenly my weakness in not being able to put into words my feelings especially when I write about my Dad. I have always admired my father and am proud to be his son. If I can be the father to my children that he has been to me, I will be a success in my life. If no success can compensate for failure in the home, then success in the home must be the greatest thing a person can succeed at in this life. My parents have succeeded in raising a family the way a family should be raised. I have always enjoyed being around my father. He has made my life rich in ways impossible to purchase with money or express in words. Daddy, thanks from all of us for being a real Dad. We love you very much. I feel I have a proud heritage to pass on—a noble birthright to live up to and of course big shoes to fill. We love you. We appreciate all you have done. We hope and pray that all your years will be filled with happiness and joy as you have so willingly shared with us your children.
A Tribute to my father by Perry Leon Walker:
1st Nephi 1:1, “I Perry Leon Walker having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father…” This surely applies to me. No one could have had better parents who tried to teach and live the gospel and provide a good home environment for their children. You have dedicated much time and money to genealogy. You have faithfully paid your tithing. We were taught to be honest. You were faithful, wonderful church members. Thank you both for spending time with us on vacations and camping trips.
Dad, you have helped me have an appreciation and love for the great outdoors. Now, I greatly enjoy beautiful mountain scenery and solitude and peace in the mountains. You enjoy seeing new places and I have this in my blood also. Hiking with backpacks was a part of our lives in the Uintahs, Boulder Mountains and the Salt Lake Mountains. I will always enjoy hiking. I remember one hike where we met up with a huge, large mean looking bull. We were very lucky it didn’t attack us. It was the White Pine hike where I hooked on to the biggest fish we had probably ever seen. It was the hike to Ryder and McFeeder where it snowed during the night. Somehow you got up and made a fire in the morning when it was so cold. There was a Donkey Lake trip where I found a spinner and put it on. I caught fish so fast that Gerald Coleman quit fishing and just took the fish off my hook. There was our first trip to Ryder and McFeeder where we spent the night without sleeping bags. There were many more trips. Fishing has been one of your favorite past times. Tinkering around until you have found the secret of a particular spot is something you have a knack for. I know no better stream fisherman. You can hook them and pull them out better than anyone I know. The joy, satisfaction and exercise you derived from fishing expeditions has been a great benefit in your life.
Gardening is also one of your other pastimes. If anyone has a green thumb, you certainly do. Many hours have been spent planting, irrigating and harvesting your garden produce. I have greatly enjoyed the many times I fished, hunted, hiked or been in the garden with you. Thank you for all the yummy fruits and vegetables you have shared over the years. Thank you for your great example of being a faithful member of the church. I love you and you are a wonderful Dad.
A Tribute to Daddy by Loa Walker Taylor
My earliest memories of Daddy were our “secret walks” to the corner grocery store where Daddy would buy me paper dolls or a piece of candy. I loved these walks. They had to come to a quick stop because there wasn’t money for everyone to take “secret walks” with Daddy, but I’ve always remembered these walks with fondness.
I loved going fishing with Daddy. Sometimes we sent to streams. I’d sit on a rock and listen to the water rushing over the boulders, feel the mist on my face, and the breeze as it rushed through the trees. I learned to love the beauty of God’s creations.
Our hikes to lakes were sometimes filled with excitement. My first time carrying a back pack with my sleeping gear was just such an experience. We were hiking to Wall Lake in the Unitahs. Weber and Leon had gone on ahead. Daddy decided to take a short cut. We got lost, and ended up at another lake. Daddy asked a man fishing at that lake how to get to Wall Lake from there. He said we might as well turn around and start over. I was exhausted. Daddy was undaunted. We started hiking in the direction of Wall Lake and finally got there, hours after Weber and Leon, who had not taken the short cut.
Another time we started hiking back to the car too late and darkness set in. We had no flashlights, so were hiking by the light of the moon. Everything was going okay until we heard a crash, bang, crash, and Daddy disappeared. We were scared. We called for him. He had fallen into a pile of tin cans at the side of the trail. We all had a good laugh when it was over, and Daddy was okay.
One summer we went to Donkey Lake in Southern Utah. As we were hiking I kept hearing a buzzing sound that was unfamiliar to me. I kept mentioning it to Daddy. No one else seemed to hear it. Daddy got real worried that I was going crazy, or getting sick. The next day I was covered from head to foot with mosquito bites. That was the buzzing sound I kept hearing. I wasn’t crazy, but I was sick.
Daddy taught me to be thoughtful of Momma. He would notice if she needed help, or looked tired. He would whisper in my ears, “Mother needs help, why don’t you see if you can help her?” I couldn’t say no.
I loved to hear Daddy bear his testimony in the old Union Second Ward. His testimony was always dotted with faith promoting experiences. I have missed terribly hearing him bear his testimony since we moved to Orem.
Prayer is important to Daddy. As a teen I would be rushing to catch the bus to school. Daddy would call family prayer. I’d complain I didn’t have time. He’d gently remind me that I had time for prayer.
Daddy’s love and complete respect of Momma has been a real inspiration to me. I remember as a child upward constantly hearing Daddy say to Momma, “Have I told you lately that I love you? You’re beautiful.” Daddy has enjoyed supporting Momma in all her church callings. Her Blazer boys were his boys.
Daddy has unwavering faith in his Heavenly Father, and a cheerful disposition. His attitude is, “It will all work out.” He always has a joke or a trick to cheer things up.
As I have struggled with life’s challenges, I have come to feel the depth of Daddy’s love for me. He is willing to do anything for me if it will make me truly happy. His love gives me strength to be true to the values he cherishes and has taught me to cherish. I love you Daddy.
A Tribute to my father by Laurel Walker Huff
As a young child I could tell that Daddy’s ancestry meant a lot to him. I sensed from him that they were honored people and I wanted to know about them. I felt like I had royal blood and was very proud of my heritage. I knew that fishing, camping and gardening were very important to him, but I could also tell that genealogy sparked something inside him. I went with Momma and Daddy to the Family History Library a few times as a young child. For some reason they wouldn’t let young children in where they were looking at microfilms. I remember being outside that room and seeing these people in this dark room, winding the machines. I used to think it was something secret that I wasn’t supposed to know about and of course that made me really want to know what was going on in there. I remember getting the great big binders of the Family Group Sheets down from the shelves and trying to find my grandparents sheets. It was thrilling to me to find them and read the names and have Momma and Daddy tell me about them. I am very glad that Daddy and Momma both had strong interest in family history because I have developed that interest also. I know Daddy will be very excited to meet the ancestors we have searched for when he gets to the other side. I have seen Daddy and Momma give very large amounts of money to further the cause of Genealogy. Our Scottish ancestors will be very grateful to them both for their unselfishness. Without them and our wonderful researcher, Gordon McFhail, our ancestry from James Craig Walker would be far less extended.
I admire Daddy and Momma for going to visit the sick and lonely as a regular part of their lives. They have brought joy to many people through these visits. Daddy has been a bright spot especially to many of his extended family members including sisters, nephews and nieces. I enjoyed going to see my relatives with Daddy and Momma. Of course, Aunt Bet was especially fun for all of us children.
I admire Daddy’s love of nature. Beyond my love of cats, I haven’t developed that part of life. I don’t enjoy camping and fishing, but I admire those who do. I can see that it has become a big part of Weber and Leon’s lives as well. Taking us on camping trips as a family made us feel like we were a real family, even though I wasn’t thrilled with the hiking and camping part.
We have developed an appreciation for Daddy’s sense of humor. He helped to develop our funny bones. We all can have a good laugh at creative jokes and funny situations. It was fun seeing Daddy laugh and tell jokes. He always has a joke to tell us and a trick to show his grand children.
I always looked forward to harvest time and the wonderful fruits and vegetables that came from Daddy’s garden. I saw him thrill at being able to share his produce with others.
I love my parents very much and know that they will be greatly honored in the days of the final judgment. They have been successful in their labors on earth and have been hood examples of Christianity.
Funeral Services for Weber Read Walker
Family Prayer – Perry Leon Walker
Our Heavenly Father, we are gathered here today to give honor and pay our final respects to Weber Read Walker. He was a devoted husband to his wife and a wonderful father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was also a great fishing and camping and hiking partner and we are very thankful to have enjoyed his companionship while he was here on the earth. We’re thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re thankful for our Savior and for his atonement. We know that if we worthily keep his commandments that we can be with our loved ones again and we are thankful for Read’s pleasing and wonderful personality. He was childlike and humble and cheerful and loving. We all remember his many loving hugs that he so freely shared. He always maintained a very cheerful, happy attitude and he shared his humor and his jokes with many people and we are grateful to have enjoyed his companionship and we will greatly miss him. We mourn his passing but we know that in our hearts he is in a much better and happier place. At this time he is having a glorious reunion with his sweetheart, siblings, parents and other friends and relatives and Read has left us a wonderful example of a Christ like life. He served his country well and served faithfully in his church. We ask thee to bless us as his posterity that we might strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to honor the Walker name as he has done himself. May we live honorable and Christ like lives. Our father and his wife were kind of like the glue that held the family together. May we serve one another, help one another and keep the family ties close and we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Opening Prayer – Ann Walker
Our most kind Heavenly Father, as we gather together today to pay honor and tribute to our grandfather and friend, help us to have thy spirit to be with us that those that come and those who are speaking might be able to have ears to hear and might be able to have thy spirit to guide us. We are grateful for the life of this good man, for his example and for his life. We are grateful for the gospel and the knowledge of the plan of salvation. We are grateful for family members for their love and support. We pray for those who have not been able to make it this day that they too may have thy spirit to be with them, that they may feel of thy love and know that they are missed. We pray for thy peace to be with this family that they might have comfort in the knowledge of the resurrection that they might have a desire to live as thou wouldst have us live that they might recognize thee as their father and know that they are loved and that they might have a desire to prepare themselves that they might be able to join to Grandma and Grandpa by living worthily. We thank thee for the gospel plan. We thank thee for Grandpa, for the lessons he taught. Help us that we’ll be able to remember what he has said and done that we too might walk the straight and narrow way. Help us to have the strength to overcome our faults and our weaknesses. Help us to speak no ill. Help us to know that thou are near and will answer our prayers always. We thank thee for this beautiful world that we live in and for this day. We say these things humbly in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Life sketch – Weber Andrew Walker
We would like to thank everyone who has been so kind to us as a family and we appreciate it and your thoughtfulness has been noted.
Weber Read Walker was born September 8, 1916, a long time ago, born to James Lee Walker and Annie Marie Oborn in a little place called Union, Utah which doesn’t exist anymore but it was a wonderful place. Read Walker was born in the old family home that was built by John Oborn who had been in the Willie Handcart Company. Many relatives and descendants of the Walkers, Oborns and Griffiths still lived in the area so it was a special place to grow up. I can remember my dad reminiscing over those happy days in Union along the Little Cottonwood Creek and of the wonderful childhood he spent there.
Read’s parents taught him correct principles and there were many stories to choose from. One that Loa and I both chose that Loa told me that I could give is this one. Read told in his history of an experience that he had with his dad, James Lee Walker.
“I remember an experience that my dad taught me. I had just received a beautiful shotgun. Hunting season came on and I thought it was really important to go hunting. It was Sunday. I knew it was not right to hunt on Sunday, but I took the gun and with a friend went hunting on a hill. My dad was not home at the time. I do not know where he was or how he knew where I would be, but he met me up there. All he said was, “Don’t you think you ought to be in Sunday school?” He walked off and left me. I immediately left, I think. Ever after that day I have had a great love for the Sabbath day.”
Many stories could be told about his childhood, of his Uncle Heber Barrett and his learning how to farm or of his great scoutmaster that he had and of all those experiences.
Read Walker ended up serving in World War II. The war came on when he was in his early twenties. He served in many of the Pacific Islands (The Philippines, New Guiney, Australia, and The Admiralties’). His experiences in the War were another thing he loved to talk about. His strength of character, courage, and faith in the gospel is shown by several stories from his military service. Quoting from his history, “While in the Philippines I received word that my mother was not expected to live. I tried, but failed to get permission to come home for her funeral. At word of her death, I called together two close L.D.S. friends to have prayer with me. This relieved the tension and gave me the comfort to carry on” This was a good example of what we should do in times of sorrow.
On another occasion in his military service, his unit came under fire, Read showed his unselfishness, quick action and bravery which earned him the Bronze Star Medal. We have heard that story of how he ran over the hill under fire and retrieved the stretcher so he could continue what he was trained to do. This Medal was awarded to him by Brigadier General Hugh Hoffman of the U.S. Army and was authorized by Congress and presented by direction of the United States President for “outstanding heroic and meritorious achievement during actual combat against an armed enemy of the United States.”
Read often talked about how rough the men were and of the evils that he experienced in the military. He records that non L.D.S. men watched him constantly. I can’t help but repeat one thing he recorded in his history, “I want my children and descendants to know that I stayed true to the faith, trusting in my Heavenly Father and felt his blessings often. I fully obeyed the word of wisdom and the law of chastity, entering to my marriage as a clean person – passing to my posterity a good name that was given to me.” What a great legacy is passed on to us in that small entry.
When Weber Read Walker finished his four years in the Army, he returned to an empty home in Union with both of his parents having passed on and his nine brothers and sisters having been married. It wasn’t long till he met and fell deeply in love with an angel named Dru, short for Drucilla Fenn who had just returned from a mission and was working as a secretary for a young apostle named Ezra Taft Benson. After dating for several months and falling madly in love, Christmas came and Dru went home to be with her family in Southern Arizona some thousand miles away. Read was so lonely for her that he decided to surprise her and drove a model A Ford borrowed from his brother to see his sweetheart for Christmas. Drucilla, many miles away, became lonely too and bought a bus ticket back to Salt Lake to see her sweetheart. I figure they passed somewhere around Flagstaff, Arizona. They didn’t know what the other one was up to and were so happy to be able to surprise the other one. It was a very lonely Christmas in 1945 as they met with each other’s in-laws, none of which knew them. This was quickly corrected and on February 1, 1946 they were married in the Mesa, Arizona, Temple.
Drucilla said that “Read had always treated me with the greatest love and respect – like I were a ‘queen.’ Seldom a day goes by that he does not tell me many times, “I love you.” He always looks for the good in me.” Read never stopped courting Dru. I can remember him picking wild flowers from the ditch bank and putting them in a glass jar on the kitchen table. He was always giving her hugs. Dru was the best thing that ever happened to Read and he knew it and he let her know it often.
In 1969 the family moved to Orem. Union had grown out of its country feeling. Read got a job as a custodian and took great pride caring for the ward house. Read was now the proud owner of almost seven acres of beautiful soil with lots of water. He could water for hours. He grew fantastic gardens. He inherited a love of the soil. He has always spent hours and hours in his many gardens. Anyone who knows Read Walker and has seen one of his summer gardens would agree that he really knew how to grow a garden. The quality, quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables grown each summer could rival any
garden anywhere. Daddy was in his glory when he could take someone on a tour of his garden. Perhaps his success stemmed from weeding a lot or watering just right or talking to his garden or a prayer now and then or perhaps a lot of love and a secret or two from his father or his uncle Heber. He will certainly be remembered for his wonderful gardens. Most of what we ate in those years came from our gardens. Some of my favorites were okra soup and sugar cane. When Daddy and Momma would come to dinner at my home in Alpine, we would always try to prepare food from our garden. Daddy would always tour my garden and comment about it. My love for growing a garden comes from wanting to please my dad. That was the first thing I looked for when I was looking for a home for my own family. I made sure it had a little garden spot.
Read Walker loved to go fishing. We have heard him talk of his memories of going fishing with his dad years ago. He often said that his mom would send him to get a fish for lunch in the nearby flume on the Little Cottonwood Creek and he could catch one pretty quick most of the time. Going fishing with Daddy was a real experience. You may get lost. You might catch fish. You might not. You might go to a new spot but usually an old favorite. But one thing was for sure, you would have fun. Daddy was a cheerful camper who helped more than his share and was always pleasant to be around. When he caught a fish he was like a kid at Christmas time opening up a present. I think he could fish in a lake with no fish for several days before admitting that there weren’t any fish in it. Leon might disagree with me on that. Some of my fondest memories are of going fishing with my dad. When I was a young boy we used to fish the Little Cottonwood Creek a lot. I remember we would hike down to the Creek, fix up our poles and bait our hooks. As a young boy I could see that first hole and I just knew that there was a fish in it but I knew that we couldn’t fish until my dad gave the OK. He would always pause and we would offer a prayer of thanksgiving for a beautiful world, a blessing of safety that day and he always added a hope that we might catch a few fish. Maybe that was his secret? It was a good experience for a young boy on the power of prayer- more than any sermon.
A few years ago I invited daddy on an overnight fishing trip in the Uintahs with my scouts. He was only in his eighties then. He told me that he could go as long as he got back by a certain time because he had an appointment to go home teaching. We made it back. Church assignments were important to Daddy and he always supported Grandma in her callings. He was responsible for bringing the bread for the sacrament until he was ninety.
Daddy had a special interest in genealogy. For many years as long as their health was good, Read and Dru went daily to work on genealogy. I remember daddy loved to memorize long lines of genealogy and then challenge us to quote them. Thousands of dollars were spent to paid researchers. Many ancestors have been identified and their temple work performed. Daddy and momma served for 3 years as name extractors thus fulfilling a mission for the church.
Daddy liked to go visiting people. It was a rare Sunday evening that didn’t find Momma and Daddy visiting someone. When we were all young I remember going in the old car. Visits were usually on Sunday evening after church. Family members, old friends, the sick and the elderly were cheered up with such visits. We used to visit Aunt Bet a lot. She always seemed to have cake to share. If more people did the same in this world it would be quite a different place. A lot of good can be done by just visiting.
Daddy liked to tell a joke or sometimes quote things from memory. He taught us with one line sermons like, “It takes two to quarrel” or “many hands make light work” or “if you want to be neat, begin at your feet” or “let your wishes be known”. He was constantly trying to get you to smile with his “can you see the mountain peak through the window?” or “did you know that everything in this world starts with the letter ‘N’? n’apples, n’oranges, n’eggs? These bits of wisdom and jokes gave daddy a charm and a character that made him unique and special.
As a very young boy I can remember going with my parents to tithing settlement. I remember old brother Condie, the ward clerk. I can remember my dad pulling two new $20 bills from his wallet after his tithing had been figured and already been paid to the bishop. He gave these to Bishop Anderson with a comment like, “just to be sure” and “this ones for my garden”. That made a big impression on tithing to me.
Daddy inherited many of the good old pioneer virtues; honesty, cheerfulness, working hard, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and having family prayer are but a few. Family prayer was always practiced in our home. We would always kneel at our chairs at dinnertime. It was an anchor that stabilized our family. Even on fishing trips, prayer was always included. The Sabbath was kept holy and scriptures were read. This was our heritage that he would want us to pass on.
Daddy was a very grateful man. He was grateful for God, his country, his family, the beautiful world and for small and simple things. Daddy appreciated everything we did for him. He often said, “thank you”. The last words I heard him say were “thank You” to a young granddaughter (Kate) who had just said, “I love you Grandpa”.
I realize keenly my weakness not being able to put into words my feelings when I speak about my dad. I have always admired my father and am proud to be his son. If I can be the father to my children that he was to me, I will be a success in life. If no other success can compensate for failure in the home, then success in the home must be one of the greatest things that we can do. My parents have succeeded in this. I have always enjoyed being around my father. He was my best friend. He made my life rich in ways impossible to purchase with money or express in words. Daddy, thanks from all of us for being such a great example. We love you very much. We feel that we have a proud heritage to pass on, noble birthrights to live up to and big shoes to fill. We love you. We appreciate all you have done. We hope and pray that all your eternities will be filled with happiness and joy as you have so willingly shared with us you children, family and friends.
Memories – Perry Leon Walker
It’s been my great pleasure for quite a number of years when my mother was still alive to have my father as my greatest fishing companion. After my mother died, he continued to come up to our home for another seven years. I live up in the Cash Valley and there’s quite a hot fishing area in Southern Idaho
and that part of Utah. The only lie he ever told was that he just loved to get out in nature and he didn’t care if he caught a fish or not because when I went fishing with him if he didn’t catch a fish in about an hour he was ready to go to another spot. I have a couple of experiences to share.
My dad liked to return to his favorite fishing spots time after time but he also liked to visit new places that he had heard about. He was kind of adventuresome. When I was about 16 or 17 years old he heard about a place in the Uintah’s that was behind Hayden’s Peak. He heard that the fishing was pretty good so he arranged a fishing trip with about four of us. We arrived early on a Saturday morning for this excursion. One of the ones that went with us was Jack Nelson and he was a member of the bishopric at the time. During this hike we kind of lost track of time I guess. We started fishing some fantastic fishing streams and enjoying the scenery and the lakes. Jack Nelson kind of got carried away fishing this stream. Pretty quick the time was passing away pretty fast and before we knew it, it was getting evening time and we finally reached our destination which was the Ryder and McPheader lake area and it was already too late to return. We met a man who had packed in with a horse. He said, “You might just as well stay here as you’re not going to make it back. I’ll let you use my horse blanket and you can stay by the fire and try to keep warm.” And so we did. I guess it wasn’t the coldest night and we survived. He said “Now the next morning you don’t want to return the way you came. You can just hike over the top of this Hayden’s Peak and you can look down and see your car.” It looked like an impossible feat. That’s a pretty big peak. The next day we carefully hiked up this peak over rock piles and slick places. We got up there and we could see our car alright. I guess Jack Nelson’s wife got pretty worried when we didn’t return home from this camping trip. She and others contacted various authorities to come and look for us but we were fine. I remember that particular Sunday. It was when we didn’t have the block schedule and the meetings were separated. We arrived home in time for sacrament meeting and I was blessing the sacrament that day. I was sitting up there in front. They had been having prayer circles and praying for us. They didn’t know if we were alive or dead, lost or what. I felt like a Hollywood celebrity up there knowing I had been prayed for and everything else.
I have another experience. When we were growing up, one of my dad’s favorite places to go was Little Cottonwood Canyon, east of the Salt Lake Valley. I was fairly young and my dad took myself and Weber up to this lake (White Pine). It’s one of the first fishing trips that I can remember. We got their and it turned out that my fishing real wasn’t acting properly and it would only cast out about twice as far as I could spit and on top of that I wasn’t sure that I knew how to tie my spinner on good enough to make it stay. I whined and complained but I soon found out that nobody was listening to me so I tied my spinner on as best as I could. I casted out there, made a real wimpy cast and low and behold a big whale attached itself to my spinner. I reeled him in. I held him up above the water. We were all admiring it. It was a great big one. After we looked at it for about a minute it dropped back in the water and swam away. I don’t think we ever got over losing this big fish. Every year we talk about it I think the fish grows another six inches.
Anyway, what was very odd, just before my dad’s 93rd birthday we took my dad on his very last fishing trip. Weber took him up to our place in Cash Valley and we went out to a lake called Deep Creek Reservoir. My dad by this time had become very feeble and Weber took him by one arm and I took him by the other one and he could just barely move his feet. We walked him down to his chair and he managed to catch a couple of fish. Strangely enough this trip turned out a little like my fist fishing trip. I hooked on to another big whale. It turned out to be bigger than this White Pine fish that I lost. It was about a six pound fish. I wish my dad would have caught this fish. I have thought since how odd it was that one of my first trips and my last trip with my dad I happened to hook on to big fish like that.
My dad was in a lot of ways, he was a little boy at heart. He was as excited as a twelve year old kid to come up and go fishing with us. Up in our area there is a Casper’s Ice Cream factory. Like I say He’s just a boy in heart and he wanted to end each fishing trip with a strawberry Ice cream cone. He wanted to go fishing and have an ice cream every day. I would just like to express my love to my dad and I enjoyed all of his good fishing trips.
Memories – Loa Taylor
As a child daddy taught me to be thoughtful of my mother. He would be watching television and he would whisper in my ear, “Momma’s tired, Momma needs help. Why don’t you see if you could help her?” I couldn’t say no. In this way he taught me to always notice when someone needed help. After momma’s death, whenever I would go over to his house, He would tell me that I was beautiful and, “Do you know that I love you?” like he did my mother. As I have struggled with life’s challenges I’ve come to feel the depth of Daddy’s love for me. He was willing to do anything for me that would make me happy. His love gives me strength to be true to the values he cherishes and has taught to his children.
Daddy was reminiscing one day and he told me of the first time that he held my mother’s hand. They were dating in Salt Lake and they were walking in West Salt Lake across the railroad tracks. He said he reached over and took momma’s hand and she accepted the gesture and his eyes still sparkled in his ninety’s as he told me of the thrill that ran through his body as he took momma’s hand. He kept holding her hand throughout their marriage wherever they were and that same thrill each time only different.
Prayer is important to daddy. As a teen I would be rushing to catch the bus knowing that I was going to miss it. Daddy would call family prayer. I’d complain, “I don’t have time, I’ll miss the bus and he would gently remind me, “You have time for prayer.”
In daddy’s journal he said, “For a while after I arrived overseas there were no LDS meetings of any kind so I followed the crowd by participating in volleyball games. I became quite proficient and was sought after and played in competition games. Something inside me told me that the Sabbath day was not a day for sports. I obeyed my conscience and spent the Sabbath day reading scriptures, writing letters home and resting. It seemed that after I’d started keeping the Sabbath day holy, the opportunity opened up. Soon after this I learned that other LDS soldiers on another island were holding group LDS sacrament meetings. I was allowed to go by boat to these meetings.
In 2nd Nephi 31:21 we read, “Wherefore ye must press forward with steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men wherefore if ye shall press forward feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end; Behold thus saith the Father, ye shall have eternal life.” To me this speaks of my father.
Daddy held tight to the iron rod throughout all the trials of life. He said, “I abstained from the use of coffee, tobacco, and alcohol. I want my children and descendants to know that I stayed true to the faith trusting in my heavenly father and felt his blessings often. I fully obeyed the word of wisdom and the law of chastity entering into my marriage as a clean person, passing to my posterity a good name that was given to me. This is the desire of daddy’s heart, to have all of his posterity together in the eternities. We too must grasp the iron rod. If our grasp has slipped may we again take hold and work towards eternal life. This is the example daddy left to us.
Memories – Laurel Huff
My connection with my father wasn’t with the fishing and camping, I never got to a point of enjoying fishing and camping. My connection was with family history. When I was under the age of eight, I don’t know how little but I know it was younger that eight, my father and mother would take me to the Family History Library in Salt Lake and would show me the great big family group sheet archive books and show me how to trace it from generation to generation. It excited me so much it almost took my breath away. Then they would want to go and look on microfilm and microfilm readers in the room and I was told I was too little to go in there. So I had to set outside while they were doing things I didn’t know what was going on in there and it peaked my curiosity. I thought it must be something secret that I wasn’t supposed to know about. I would peak in there and get as good of a look as I could of what was going on in there. It really peaked my interest in family history. My father loved to learn about his ancestors and he would tell stories about his ancestors. It made me feel like our ancestors must be these royal-noble- people and he loved them and I loved them. My father generously funded a lot of genealogical research in search of extending our pedigree. It’s because of him that we know so much of our Scottish heritage.
After our mother died I was afraid that my father would lose interest in doing his family history but he didn’t. I was lucky enough to take him to the library many Monday afternoons and we would do research together. I loved to see the great big smile on my father’s face when I’d come to see him every Monday. It filled my heart and was great therapy for me. He had Meals on Wheels during the last part of his life and he really thought he had something absolutely wonderful there and he wanted me to share his meal on wheels with him when I came and I did that and then he wanted me to have some ice cream and some graham crackers. We would watch Gun Smoke or Little House on the Prairie or The Andy Griffiths Show. I really cherish the time Heavenly Father gave us with Daddy after my mother died. I know he loved me. I appreciated his good since of humor and his sweetness and I love him very much and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Memories – Walter Ray Walker
I guess I get to be the last but not the least, the youngest of the Walker Clan. I could say like Nephi of old, “I was born of goodly parents.” Daddy was a man of sterling character, unblemished and he developed many Christ like attributes. He had 93 years of mortality to polish them and he polished them well. A few things that I remember about his character traits are these; He was pure. He was humble, unpretentious, unassuming, a hard working man who had modest means. He had little. He needed little. He was a man who lived fugally and provided sufficiently for his family. He was a man who was non-judgmental, accepting of all. He was friendly, loving, kind, thoughtful and generous. He got along with everyone. I don’t remember him ever having an enemy. He was cheerful, optimistic and happy. He had a warm sense of humor and a friendly teasing both of us as children but especially of pets. He never complained or coveted. He was joyful in his journey through life regardless of the adversities that he suffered, always joyful, enthusiastic about learning something new or trying something new. He treated his wife like a queen. I remember him always carrying my mother’s purse, a little different for a man but he always carried her purse. He walked everywhere he went with his hand in her hand. I remember often at home him sitting on the recliner with mother on his lap. He really loved Drucilla. He made his family his first priority and gave us his time, his focus and his love. We were children who were poor in means but rich in love, nurture, joy and happiness. He was proud of every one of his children and encouraged them in directions that they pursued – not forcing them into any particular end. He loved all children but particularly his grand children and his great grand children and his great grand children and children loved him. He had a child like faith and trust in the Lord. He was undeviating and he had pure hands and a pure heart. He was the epitome of honor and integrity. He loved his country and considered it an honor to serve in World War II. He loved genealogy. He loved the outdoors. He had a love for animals, especially his dog Tricksy, my cat Simon and his two milk cows. He was an avid BYU fan and loved to follow BYU sports. He loved to eat, loved to try mew foods. His method of eating was to start with a piece of bread and add layer upon layer upon layer of sweet, sour or whatever. His concoctions were indeed strange. But he was the best father a son could have. Now, a couple of memories;
My memories were in Orem, not in Midvale. I was about 10 when we moved from Midvale (Union). We moved to a seven and three quarter’s acre farm that had a two room small farm house on it. We were building a new home but we had to live in that two room farm house for about six months or so with a family of five in that two room farm house. It was an adventure indeed. It did not have a furnace. It had a small wood burning stove and it was for the times, an adventure. It was like moving back in time 40 years but I remember it with good memories. Daddy proceeded to turn that 7 ¾ acre farm into a little Garden of Eden. He bought a really old tractor, an Alice Chambers tractor, and he spent hours and hours out on that tractor plowing, dragging the disk and furrowing and harrowing. He planted an apple orchard and fruit trees and berries. He got a milk cow and later a beef cow. He planted an alfalfa field and established pastures for his cows. He loved harvesting his produce and he loved walking it through the neighborhood and giving it to his friends. Irrigation turns were what he set his clock by. I mean irrigation turns were the thing in life and he had about eight or nine hour’s worth. He got chickens. He got a hive of honey bees.
I remember his pride and fascination when I picked up the hobby of amateur radio. He taught me the lesson of ‘let your needs be known’. I asked our bishop at the time, Bishop Kirk, who worked for UP &L if he could find a couple of telephone poles for me. He taught that lesson to me because he found a couple of telephone poles and I built the world’s best inverted V antennae with those two telephone poles. Daddy loved to bring friends whenever they came into the house downstairs to my radio room. In the course of a couple of minutes I would send out a CQ and establish a contact in Morse code with someone across the world and he just thought that was fascinating. I remember his pride.
I remember his support to me in Scouting. I earned my Eagle Scout largely because of his support. I remember a camp to the Uintah’s that was going to be cancelled because our leaders cancelled on us at the last minute. Daddy said that wouldn’t do and he set aside whatever he had to do and said, “I’ll go along as a dad and serve as a second leader so you can go on your scout camp. Our scout camp was totally unorganized and Daddy said “let’s make something of our time while we’re here” and so along with a friend who’s here in the audience today, Daniel Waters, we earned our ‘foot a float patch’ that week. We hiked out ten miles in different directions each day and earned that patch. As my brother Weber said, anything could happen on these hiking trips with Grandpa. One of those days a ranger told us, “you don’t have to follow the trail back to your base camp (which was the main Granddaddy Lake in the Uintah’s), you can just follow this trail of tree blazes and you’ll make it back just fine. Well we followed that trail of tree blazes but it petered out on us and it got later and later and later and it started raining and we hiked probably four or five or six hours that night and we were just lost as lost can be. My father finally had sufficient wit about him and he said, “Let’s just follow this stream down to where it joins a lake and hike around the lake and find some campers and ask them where in the devil are we at?” So that’s what we did and they gave us our orientation and we ended up only about two miles and we hiked back up just as the Scout Troop was prepared as a group to hike out and get the ranger because something bad had happened to us. We were just fine. Two other experiences;
Mother didn’t like TV. She thought they were a waste of time and when our TV finally gave out she sang the praise of ‘Halleluiah’ and refused to replace the TV. That didn’t work for me and so I looked in the classified ads and bought my own TV and put it in my bedroom. She didn’t say no and that’s the way it was. I remember Daddy every night we would spend an hour or two together as he would come down and we would watch TV together. We liked detective shows and we watched Barnaby Jones, Dragnet, Hawaii Five-O, Ironsides, Manic, Perry Mason and the Rockford Files. We enjoyed our time together and bonded in that experience.
Lastly, my brother told about his gardens. It really wasn’t my vocation but when I went into high school the FFA teacher, the Future Farmers of America teacher sought me out because he knew my dad had property and convinced me to join. He told me that next year I should have a project. (Show project). My dad and I decided that we would tear down an out building on his property down to the framing. We would build ourselves a greenhouse. So he went down and we bought hundreds of windows from Deseret Industries. We put them together in a jig saw puzzle if you will on this framing. Double pained windows on each side of the framing and then we had a roof that Weber helped put us on. It turned out OK and we learned how to do a greenhouse. The FFA teacher told us he wanted us to enter in the State Fair anything we could grow and my dad really took him up on that offer. Here’s a list and you can bank on it. We grew vegetables. We grew beat greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbages, celery, lettuce, head and leaf, spinach and Swiss chard. In fruits and flowering we grew cucumbers, egg plants, hot peppers both cyan and chilly, summer squash both zucchini and yellow crock neck and scallop. We grew sugar cane. We grew sunflowers, sweet corn, Indian corn, pop corn, sweet peppers red and green, tomatoes of various kinds, winter squash, acorn, banana, blue Hubbard and butternut. We grew black eyed peas, lima beans, okra, peanuts, string beans, sweet peas, asparagus, kohlrabi, onions, rhubarb, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, basil sweet, chives and parsley. In our fruits we had apricots, apples, golden delicious, Jonathan, red delicious, summer apples, sweet and pie cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, green seedless grapes, concord grapes, cantaloupes, Crenshaw’s, honeydews, muskmelons and watermelon. I mean to tell ya, we grew a garden and then some. We were the top individual exhibitor at the State Fair that year and I have ribbons upon ribbons upon ribbons here to prove it. They go on and on and on and on and on. It is a cherished memory. He was a farmer of farmers.
The last time I saw my dad was a bitter sweet time. He and I had a similar experience of serving in the military. I went to BYU Law School and joined the military as my first job as a JAG, Judge Advocate, served for years and finished my career as a reservist and retired the Thursday before his death. He had looked forward and looked forward to coming up there and participating one last time in the pomp and ceremony of military. But I got a call that morning from my sister telling me that the Hospice nurse said he had closed his eyes for his last time and he would die within a few days. It wasn’t urgent that I come home and cancel my retirement but I did come home over to Weber’s house, where he’d been staying, that evening and decided that I would go in and just tell my dad all about my retirement ceremony as though he were there and could hear and could understand. In the middle of my discussion with him about my retirement ceremony, he opened his eyes and turned to me and looked at me and said, “Hi” and obviously recognized me and we got another 20 minutes or 30 minutes of Daddy. It was one of those tender mercies. I asked him, “Do you know I love you?” He couldn’t express words but he vocalized in his way that he did and I checked three times just to make sure and he had the same expression each time. He wanted to tell me one last time that he loved me and I loved him. He was the best dad there ever was.
Tribute – Weber Andrew Walker Jr.
Like many of you here today, our lives have been richly blessed by the association we have had with Grandfather Walker. Many of you can recall with fondness the fishing trips, the hooks, the worms and the one that got away, the walks in the cemetery, the stories of our ancestors, the temple excursions, the poems, the jokes, the riddles, yes even one about a fly and a flee and a flue, the wildflowers picked from a ditch, the pillow he carried for grandmother, the picnics in the canyons, the family dinners and the Christmas eve programs. But today I’d like to share a personal story about grandfather. A story I hope will long be remembered by my children, a story that happened before I was born, a story about a father, a good neighbor and a valiant home teacher. As a young father, Grandpa cared for our neighbor Lars although Lars was a wonderful man, he was not experiencing all the blessings the Lord had for him and his family and he needed a good friend. Grandpa Walker was one of those friends. They went fishing together and even took their young children. When it came time for Lars’ new baby daughter to be given a name and a blessing, he chose a trusted friend to perform that sacred ordinance. He chose my Grandfather Walker. I will never know all the countless acts of friendship and love my grandfather extended to his neighbor Lars but I do know the results. You see Lars Loader is my other grandfather and that baby daughter is my dear mother. Yes, my mother and father were both blessed by my Grandfather Walker. My Grandfather Loaders life was changed. His family was sealed in the temple and our lives forever blessed. As a child I didn’t appreciate what a special blessing it was to see my grandfathers hug at family events and to witness the respect and love they had for each other. As I look back I recall that my Grandfather Walker was and is today an example of Christ. The humble way he showed compassion to all who knew him will long be remembered. I do not remember long gospel sermons shared by my grandfather but I remember things that I witnessed. I knew my grandfather cherished the eternal covenant of marriage by the way he treated Grandmother. I knew he honored the Sabbath day by the way he diligently observed it. I knew he kept sacred covenants by the virtuous life he lived. May we so live as Grandpa did to enjoy the day when the Lord may say to us, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, thou has been faithful over a few things. I will make thee a ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” To Grandpa we say, “Thank you” and “We love you” in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tribute – Ryan Walker
Grandpa was a very funny person who always had a smile and a joke. I bet that everyone who met him heard a joke every time they went and saw him. Once when my sister Heidi’s husband Scott was helping Grandpa with something, Grandpa asked Scott if the mail had arrived. Someone who was present jokingly asked Grandpa who would send him a letter? Grandpa thought and replied, “The president did occasionally”. He just always had something funny to say. In addition to jokes, Grandpa had funny handshakes. My brother Shaun and Grandpa had a special fisherman’s hook handshake where they would hook their pinkies together like hooks on a fishing line. I also remember a plumber’s handshake, a milk man’s handshake, several variations of a fisherman’s handshake and many more. Grandpa was very kind. My sister Emily remembers and pointed out to me that she remembers that Grandpa would always carry Grandma’s purse and she thought that that was really cute and really sweet for him to always do.
Both my sister Heidi and I had the opportunity to live with Grandpa. I remember talking with Heidi when she and her husband Scott were getting ready to move to Los Vegas. Heidi expressed to me how they would greatly miss living with Grandpa. She, among other things, would miss spending time outside with Grandpa in the summer watching her kids playing in the sand box. Grandpa trained her children and my son, Braxton, where he kept his graham crackers every time they would come visit. I didn’t feel like I knew Grandpa as well before I got to move into his house. Being there to help take him to doctors appointments, taking him to get his rotor tiller looked at, helping him make phone calls or whatever he needed helped me develop deeper love for him. I’ll miss turning videos on for him at night. I’ll miss sitting outside in the summer while my son plays. I will miss Grandpa asking me to help him turn on the irrigation. I’m going to be sad that my son won’t remember the time he spent with him. As sad as I am and as much as me and my family have cried, I know that it is all for us because Grandpa is free from his failing body and is back with his parents and his loved ones. We will miss him very much.
Tribute – Raymond Taylor
My mother and I were looking at Grandpa last night at the viewing and we looked at each other and we said, “There is only one thing wrong here, Grandpa doesn’t have a smile on his face.” I don’t remember him ever not having a smile on that face and so it’s something I remember of him. Probably the thing that I remember most of my Grandfather is growing up going out to the kitchen area to get something to eat and Grandpa would be there. He had already eaten breakfast. He had already been out and, you know, looked over his garden. A lot of times he had something to share, maybe that was something that he had just picked and wanted to give to us, or he had something to say about the garden but he was always hungry. He would always eat breakfast. It was almost like I don’t know but he was always there. Maybe he liked my mom’s pancakes because he always ate very well and we always enjoyed having him there.
Another memory I have of my grandfather and my grandmother is regularly seeing them walk past my house. They went on walks, lots of them. I don’t remember ever seeing them not holding hands and remembering how Grandpa was such a peacemaker. I remember him saying, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” It was something he lived by and it is something that we can all live by in our lives.
Grandpa enjoyed farming as a lot of people have said. We used to love seeing him drive by our house on his tractor. We always wanted a ride. Grandpa was always willing. I don’t know how we ever stayed on that tractor and never fell off but we used to go up and down on his tractor with him and help him back in the garden.
I was talking to my sister Amber and one of the memories that she had of him. One day she was feeling pretty down in the dumps and having a hard time coming out of those bad feelings that can come with depression or whatever it may be. She went up to Grandpa’s house to go on a walk with him. Grandpa took her and led her out and started looking up at the clouds and asking her what the clouds looked like. He asked her to look at the trees and asked her to look at all the different colors in the trees. Amber said, “I don’t know what it was but I couldn’t stay depressed around Grandpa. He had this way of bringing everybody and making everybody around him happy and it was a blessing that we all enjoyed. I remember as a young child going fishing with Grandpa. I don’t think I was very old, maybe five or six when we started going fishing. I remember going on fishing trips because we got to spend a lot of time together. It was a long process because Grandpa never went anywhere very fast. We would get to where we were going and get our fishing poles out there. I was five or six years old. I couldn’t sit around long enough to catch a fish so I would go out walking on the rocks while Grandpa was watching the fishing poles. It seemed like I always caught more fish than Grandpa. I don’t know to this day how that could happen but as I was thinking about it for this talk I think Grandpa must have been switching those fishing poles when I wasn’t looking because I think he enjoyed watching me catch the fish and the excitement in my eyes as he allowed me that experience.
I remember Grandpa’s mind. It was always working. He was always thinking of a better way to do things whether it was how he was going to do his irrigation or something. It always amazed me, his understanding of the law of physics. I always liked that about him.
I will miss Grandpa. I look forward to being able to spend time again with him. Grandpa left a legacy in our family and has touched thousands of people. His example will continue to bless my life as well as my children. I love him and I’m thankful for him.
Tribute – Carrie Morris
I too remember Grandpa always having a smile on his face. I remember whenever we would go over he would always be telling a joke or having someone rubbing his head. He loved to sit in his chair and have someone come over and rub the top of his head. I thought that was kind of strange but my husband also likes that. It must be something with tall men. They like their heads rubbed. I remember growing up, we always had ketchup on our French toast and I thought our family was unique until we would go over to Grandpa’s. He put ketchup on everything; pancakes, vegetables. He always had ketchup in his cupboard. Grandma would try and hide the ketchup ‘cause she didn’t want him to have ketchup on different things but he would find it and I am so grateful that my daughter Kyle, who is four, has gotten to know him. When my mom would go down on Monday’s we would often go down. We would always have vegetable soup for lunch. There always needed to be some alphabet vegetable soup in his cupboard and Kyle and he would have a bowl of vegetable soup and he would share whatever was in his ‘Meal on Wheels’. We would pack the desert off. I remember when he died. I told Kyle Grandpa went back to live with Grandma Walker and she looked at me and she said, “But you know mom, we’ll see him again when Jesus comes back.” I miss him so much and I know we’re going to see him again and the faith of little children, they know that too.
My best memory of Grandpa is whenever we would go down to have dinner and we’re getting in the car to leave. He had his special good bye wave that he would always do and as my last tribute to Grandpa, I’m going to do the wave (The wave). We love you Grandpa.
Tribute – Wendy Hull
What I learned from Grandpa. I learned to cherish the good times and find something to be glad about each day. I learned that it is better to be happy than sad. As a young child I remember sitting in the car on a camping trip being punished while everyone else was playing hide and seek. Grandpa, however, took the time and came knocking on the window and told me “It’s better to be happy than sad”. He told me some jokes and succeeded in making me smile and laugh. When we lived next door to Grandpa, I could look forward to the greetings of outstretched arms and hugs nearly every morning and every afternoon as I returned home from work. During this time he showed me how to share and express love to all those around me including the small animals. We all loved watching the baby birds that nested in the window beneath the bathroom and followed their progress. I remember coming home from work to see Grandpa sitting in the chair with our dog, Glacier, on his lap. He said they would sit and chat all day long. I figured if anyone could understand animals it would be Grandpa. So I asked him what Glacier said and he replied, “Well, I mostly did the talking”. I learned how to cultivate and plant and weed and irrigate a garden. My husband learned how to wake up early in the morning or in the middle of the night to take water turns as Grandpa would sit on his chair and watch the water run for hours. I learned how to enjoy the fruits of our labors. We have planted a garden every year since then. I learned countless jokes that will always bring a smile to my face. We have several pages written of Grandpa’s jokes. I remember Grandpa’s mischievousness. As a young child when Grandma wasn’t looking, he would go get me, with a sneak, a treat such as a frozen banana chips or what not. Then we would go somewhere where no one else was and eat those banana chips. He wouldn’t only get me to do this but my four sisters as well. I learned to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I’ll always remember camping, hiking and backpacking trips that helped me gain a greater love and appreciation for the outdoors. In the last few years my family and I have enjoyed numerous fishing trips with Grandpa and my father even my little daughter who is two got to sit on Grandpa’s knees and help real in fish. I won’t forget Grandpa’s smile as he helped my little girl real in those fish. Most importantly, his quiet dedicated example showed me how to love and serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I learned to put the Lord first and magnify my calling no matter how insignificant it may seem. Grandpa’s dedicated service to his calling was truly amazing. He would come knocking on our door usually an hour before church ever even started to have one of us help him bring the sacrament bread to the church. This was truly inspiring. Truly Grandpa personified the meaning of child like when our Savior taught us in Mosiah 3:19 to be “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him even as a child doth submit to his father.” Thank you Grandpa. We love you.
Weber Read Walker
By Maralee Turner
Though he never achieved worldly glory or revealed in fame,
Our Father and Grandpa, Weber Read Walker, will always be an exemplary name.
His reputation was equated with fidelity, submissiveness, humor and hard work.
He prayerfully internalized his duties to God and country and from them he never did shirk.
His twinkling eyes and instant laugh belayed his creed for life:
“It's better to be happy than sad”, he often quoted, to avoid strife.
Hugging tightly was Read's way to bid farewell or greet, end and begin.
With his arms around you, he expressed his love, then smiled his boyish grin.
His devotion for Dru he oft declared with an affectionate kiss and embrace.
Lovingly, he praised his sweetheart while studying the features of her adored face.
Because of his joy in simple pleasures, he was easy to please.
His happiness was doubled in telling a humorous riddle or tease.
When his audience laughed in appreciation, Read felt grandly paid.
He'd retell the same joke repeatedly, particularly when he was bade.
Though he loved nature and being outdoors, he always kept the Sabbath Holy.
He knew that disobeying God's commandments would only bring sadness and folly.
He reliably labored to support his family day after day,
Though as a plumber and a custodian, he received only a meager pay.
He enjoyed his delicious garden grown food, especially with family and friends shared.
Although with Drucilla curtailing his portions, he only ate as much as he dared!
Another favorite dish was fish caught with his own pole with cunning precision.
With his sons, grandsons, or friends, to go fishing was never a difficult decision!
Attending the temple and participating in genealogy brought satisfaction to him.
Faithfully, he linked generations of ancestors together as baptized and sealed kin.
This love of family history was shared by Drucilla, his equally dedicated wife.
The two spent uncounted hours together completing family history during their life.
Scriptures, church history, or other stories read from an inspirational book
To Read were almost as tempting and enjoyable as baiting a hook!
He could repeat memorized genealogy, poetry or prose in detail.
A favorite, oft quoted author, Robert Louis Stevenson, he did hail.
He was a person his wife, children and posterity always enjoyed being around.
His chuckle and his teasing words were ever endearing happy, sounds.
He lived gratefully, cheerfully, and charitably towards many and the one.
Read's very life bore witness of his love for Heavenly Father and his Son.
The covenants Weber Read Walker made at baptism and in the temple he strove to keep.
Life long, he obediently followed God and Jesus Christ as one of their sheep.
In contemplation, how do we honor and show respect to a man such as he?
By closely adhering to his example, so an eternal, sealed family we may be.
Talk – Ballard Pead (home teacher)
Brothers and sisters, it’s a pleasure for me to be here. What a great honor to be able to talk at Brother Walker’s funeral. I thank the Walker family for letting me do this. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the light. He that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live”. Brother Walker lives. He and Drucilla, Dru, are hugging each other right now. They are so tickled to be together. He’s so happy to be with his sweetheart. He’s happy as he can be almost probably as happy as fishing. Through the atonement and living the gospel of Jesus Christ or the plan of happiness, we become worthy to enter the presence of our Heavenly Father permanently. We must show that we accept Christ, that we have faith in him by keeping His commandments and obey the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. In Ephesians we read, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. Try to be like the Savior. Try to be like His stature. Brother Walker was like his Stature. He was happy. He was friendly. He loved people. He was humble. There is a song called “Love at Home”. Heavenly Father is glad to welcome Brother Walker home. He smiles on high and Brother Walker smiles on High as he goes to be with our Heavenly Father.
Brother Walker was my friend. I had the opportunity to home teach him for a few years. It was my pleasure and privilege and my son Jeremy’s privilege to go and visit with Brother Walker. As I drive by his house now it’s tough to not pull in. I’ll always remember how Daniel Boon always won. We got to watch movies with him. I love ‘Daniel Boone’, ‘Have Gun Will Travel’ and ‘Little House on the Prairie’. Brother Walker always had a cute smile. He just lit up whenever he would smile. That’s the stature of the Savior. He had a positive attitude. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone. That’s the Savior. He was always friendly. He wanted the best for all. Remember when the Savior was on the cross and he said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”? Brother Walker was exactly like that. He would always forgive them for they know not what they do. He put his life on the line to fight off the enemy who tried to take away the gospel in a place where the gospel could grow here in America. He talked about his serving and he was grateful that he could go. As a bishop I had the great opportunity to interview him and his good wife many times. I sat in heaven in my office when they were there with me.
In Mosiah, King Benjamin talks and gives us some very good advice about what it’s like where Brother Walker went. This is in the 41st verse of the 2nd chapter. “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. (And Brother Walker kept the commandments of God. He is in a happy state, a blessed state.) For behold, they are blessed in all things (not just a few things but all things) both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, (so Brother Walker is in Heaven) that thereby they may dwell with God (He is dwelling with God.) in a state of never-ending happiness. (We can’t ask for anything greater than that.) O remember, remember (said King Benjamin) that these things are true; for the Lord has spoken it.” I add my testimony that these things are true and Brother Walker is happy because he kept the commandments of God. He kept his covenants. He loved his wife and they are happy today and he is smiling and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Benediction – Edamarie Walker
Our Eternal Heavenly Father, we gather together at the end of this final service in honor of our father, grandfather, friend and great grandfather, Weber Read Walker. We are thankful Heavenly Father for his example for we know he served thee with love. We are thankful for thy Son, Jesus Christ, for the plan of salvation and for the knowledge that we have that we will meet again. We are thankful for the safety in travel people have enjoyed in coming to this service and to be together as a family. We know some weren’t able to make it and we pray for them. We are thankful Heavenly Father for thy love. We are thankful for Joseph Smith and the experience he had in the grove. “Oh how lovely was the morning, Radiant beams the sun above, Bees were humming, Sweet birds singing, Music ringing through the grove”. Grandpa loved all of us in a special way and we are so thankful. We pray for thy protection and care over us as we travel to his final resting place and to return and later to return to our homes far and near that we might enjoy protection. We’re thankful for the speakers and dedicated service that has been given to Grandpa and Daddy. We are thankful for thy love. Bless us to remember thee and keep thy commandments and live lives for thee and thy love. We say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Some of the things I like: Sunrise, Sundown, Evening.
I like to go fishing; I enjoy seeing where the stream has worn away the canyon
And exposed the strata, The Shade of color of the water (some milky color, some blue),
The roots changing to life after being exposed, The limbs and logs piled up by the torrent and the effects of erosion, The habitat along a stream, Places where the coyote or lion has made a kill,
The mighty timber that has fallen, The polished rocks of the stream bed, The long views ahead yet the unexpected around the corner, The big sky, the changes of the day, the breezes,
The smells of the canyon and the vegetation, The chance to be alone, To have a prayer and give thanks, And to catch some fish, And above all—
Knowing my Heavenly Father likes me to like such things,
That He made the world and loves us all and that I am His child.
(Read Walker Journal, Oct. 1980)