Obituary for Frank Walker, Jr.
Frank Leslie Walker, Jr., 74, of Missoula, Montana, passed away at home in the presence of family on August 19th, 2017. He will be dearly missed.
A fiercely devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, as well as a skilled and caring physician, Frank was one who was especially fond of traditions; he was the family-man who gleefully planned for weeks in preparation for April Fool’s Day, the neighbor who insisted on handing out full-size candy bars at Halloween, and the emergency room doctor who wore rainbow-colored shoes to work in order to help patients feel more comfortable in what can be a very stressful environment. He shared his caring heart, his healing hands, and his robust sense of humor with thousands who made their way there.
Frank was born February 24, 1943 in Jamestown, North Dakota to Frank and Lila Walker during the dark hours of World War II. His first memory, at age three, was of meeting his father for the first time after service in the South Pacific. In the 1950s, Frank was one of the many children struck by the polio epidemic. An experimental treatment allowed him to fully recover and to become an athlete in high school and college. That experience sparked an interest in helping others through medicine. Frank earned a BA from Brown University and his medical degree from the University of Minnesota.
Frank met his future wife, Jeanine (Jenny) Walker, at the beginning of high school. After writing a letter to her every day while he was away at college, the two were married and were wed for 52 years.
During the Vietnam War, Frank served with the Public Health Service as a doctor for the Navajo Nation in Chinle, Arizona. He sought additional training in Emergency Medicine in Santa Cruz, California, and was shortly thereafter recruited by Community Medical Center to open their emergency room in Missoula. As an avid hunter, fisherman, and photographer, Frank gladly moved with his young family. Montana and the Missoula community became his home for the next 41 years. He held deep connections here to family, friends, and the “Last best place” and was laid to rest in the land and community that he loved.
He is survived by his beautiful bride (as he always called her), Jeanine Walker, and the four children they had together; John Walker, Jessica Walker-Keleher, S. Mandra Walker, and Zach Walker. He felt blessed with the addition of three children by marriage, Ellen Walker, Peter Walker-Keleher, and Joscelyn Walker, and four grandchildren; Georgia Walker-Keleher, Ellis Walker-Keleher, Taylor Walker, and Dillon Walker. He is also survived by the Montana Grizzlies and the Minnesota Vikings.
A service in celebration of Frank’s life will be held on Saturday, October 7th at 4:00 PM at the University Congregational Church of Missoula at 405 University Avenue. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Watson Children’s Shelter in his memory.