I came to Grinnell in 1960, two years after Wally Walker did. I had never taken a biology class before, but did so in 1961–62 under Dr. Walker’s leadership and became enthralled with biology, majoring in it at Grinnell. I was so taken by his caring approach to his students, his sense of humor, his generosity (he invited many of us students to his home for wonderful warm brownies and popcorn — just to “shoot the bull” — on several occasions), and his knowledge. I must have learned what xylem and phloem did in his Plant Physiology class, but I remember his engaging smile and welcome whenever I saw him again! I was a babysitter for his two girls, Martha and Gail, and in fact was with them when President Kennedy was assassinated. I couldn’t figure out why all the TV channels just had NEWS.
When I received my acceptance into Stanford’s grad program in physical therapy, Dr. Walker was one of the first people on campus I told! I feel like I’ve lost a friend … and know that he was a friend to many students and faculty at Grinnell. I was blessed to have known him!