Gordon “Lee” Walker
Gordon “Lee” Walker first buzzed Earth’s tower on May 5, 1933, and kept the afterburner on until his peaceful departure on Friday, Sept. 29.
He didn’t say a word until he was 3 years old, but rarely quieted down after that. In defense, his comments were virtually always studied, well thought out, and articulate, expressing an ever inquisitive, observant and thoughtful mind.
He soared through an idyllic childhood — often just one step ahead of his mother — living, and later working, in scenic national parks and monuments of Utah, ensuring a deep reverence for nature’s beauty that will endure in his posterity far beyond his 90 years. Like his father, brothers, and sons, he achieved the rank of, and remained, an Eagle Scout.
In 1958, he was sealed to his eternal sweetheart, Jolayne, in the Salt Lake Temple. Though often physically parted by occupational demands, they’ve been inseparable wingmen in spirit and heart for over 65 years. Their mutual devotion is complete; she’s always been “My Dear” or “Sweetie.”
Their twin vapor trail has wound through Texas, Michigan, Spain, California, Greece, and Utah.
In a two-decade U.S. Air Force flying career, Lee mastered around a dozen military aircraft, consisting largely of the most advanced tactical fighter planes of the day. He endured two missile-dodging tours in Vietnam and became an outstanding trainer on some of those aircraft, ensuring his skill was passed on.
Having taxied the final runway of that career, he navigated several others; becoming, in turn, property caretaker, road grader, security guard and money manager.
He served three missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: the first in New England (1952-54); the others with “My Dear” in Peoria, Illinois (1992-1994), and Queensland, Australia (2007-2009).
Wherever life’s flight plan took him, he always accepted and served diligently in church assignments, including faithful home teacher, Scoutmaster, stake missionary, high councilor, branch president, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, bishop, and temple ordinance worker. He knew church manuals back to front and upside down — as obedient, diligent, and faithful to every service assignment as he was to every other aspect of life.
Likewise, he was completely dedicated to home and family. When not at work or on church assignment, he was home — teaching, correcting, nurturing; being “Dad.” Did we mention “correcting?”
Lee was a decorated marksman and brilliant hunter who often donated the fruit of his hunts to charitable efforts. He loaded his own bullets, for better accuracy, and was a leader and mentor to dozens in their quest to improve their firearm accuracy and handling.
His earthly ground crew consists of his wife, Jolayne; children, Kevin (Aina), Ken (Sydney), Mishaun Lancaster (Rollin), Sandy Robinson and Tim (Jennifer); 25 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.
He joins a heavenly flight of his father and mother, Tom and Lucile; brothers, Alan and Merlin; son-in-law, Rollin; granddaughter, Aimee; and great-granddaughter, Aria.
A viewing and visitation were held Friday, Oct. 6, followed by a visitation and funeral on Friday, Oct. 7. All were held at the Levan Chapel, 100 E. Center St., Levan, Utah.
Dad, you have slipped the surly bonds of Earth. Fly on, good pilot.