I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Waldo Walker. My father taught at Grinnell in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and my mother is an alumna. Wally was one of a small group of Grinnell professors and officials who were instrumental in luring my father to the College in 1964. They were great friends, so it made sense when I started my Grinnell experience to introduce me to him and his wife, Rita. Periodically, throughout my time as a student, Wally would call me up and invite me to dinner. These were always wonderful breaks from the action of college life. No matter how hectic or out of whack my life at Grinnell became, I always looked forward to those little timeouts. We would meet at the Walkers’ house for a few bracing pre-dinner drinks, before either a lovely home-cooked meal or a trip to JD’s or the Oak Room. I know he was keeping an eye on me for my parents, and I am grateful to him for that. But he was also interested in me as a person and a developing thinker, and our conversations were free and wide-ranging. Above all, though, those nights were just fun.
Wally Walker was one of the funniest people I have ever met, and I truly enjoyed every minute I spent in his company. Thanks, Wally, for everything you did for the College, and everything you did for me. 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!