Nuclear Engineering department reflects on the life of Jack Walker '58

Jack V. Walker, Ph.D. of Albuquerque, N.M. passed away Friday, September 20, 2013, after a three-year battle with cancer. He was a much loved husband, father, grandfather and uncle. He was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1935 to Walter Vernon and Coralea (Tinsley) Walker. His college years were spent at Texas A&M where he was a proud member of the Corp of Cadets. He remained at Texas A&M for his master's and Ph.D. degrees, where he was recognized as being the first recipient of a nuclear engineering degree in the Southwest. He also was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and The Society of Sigma Xi.

Jack had a successful 30-year career at Sandia National Labs where he was manager of the Advanced Reactor Research Department and later was manager of the Sandia Space Nuclear Technology Program. He was also the proud principal organizer of the International Nuclear Technology Program which included 9 countries. When Jack retired in 1994, he concentrated on developing the right side of his brain and became a prize-winning wine maker and judge, a santero carver, an oil painter, a restorer of ancient pottery, a master gardener, a world "adventure" traveler, and a regular "Jack of all trades."

Jack remained a dedicated Texas Aggie all of his life, and in 1986 received the Alumni Honor Award for outstanding distinguished achievement in his field. He loved watching Aggie football and celebrating all the great traditions with his many Texas A&M buddies. He is survived by his wife of 55 wonderful years, Sharon Walker, his son Scott Walker and his wife Elizabeth, granddaughter Shannon, grandson Corey, daughter Karen Yingling, her husband Dave, granddaughter Lindsey, and grandson Jake. He is also survived by two sisters, Vercile Jordan and her family in Euless, Texas, Peggy Hitchcock of Bella Vista, Ark., and her family, brothers-in-law John Conroy and family, and Pat Conroy and family all of Austin, Texas. He is also survived by many friends, too numerous to mention here. Hopefully, all were enriched by Jack's life as he was enriched by theirs.

Jack is also survived by two very dear friends; his Aggie "Ole Lady" roommate Vel "Tootie" Hawes of Dallas, Texas, and his New Mexico "brother" Ralph L. Roybal. Jack's family wants to express their gratitude and say "thank you" to all who cared and loved Jack through his last life journey: Dr. Peter Lindberg, his cutting-edge Oncologist, and his nurse, Megan, who kept him going for so long in Los Alamos at the Northern New Mexico Cancer Center and his nurses in the infusion lab, Cathy and Kim. Also a big thank you to Dr. Aaron Kaufman who cared for him through the years as his primary care physician and with whom he loved to discuss the importance of integrative care, and Dr. Arti Prasad and all of her loving care givers at the UNM "Center for Life" who soothed Jack's body and spirit. Lastly, we cannot begin to describe the love and beautiful care that was given to Jack and to the family from Hospice of the Sandia's. Individual thanks to Maralee, Dr. Carol Merovka, and his nurse Chris. Also a big thank you goes to Home Instead who provided us our outstanding night caregivers Holly Ann and Amara. Bless you all! Jack's ashes will be interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.