Thursday, January 5, 2017

Uncle Newell - Last of the Family -

My uncle, Newell Walker, died yesterday afternoon, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was diagnosed with Leukemia last year, and he did a darn good job of living this past year to the fullest.

At my father's service (he died 6 months ago today), Uncle Newell leaned down over the casket and told my dad, "I'll see you soon."

Uncle Newell was an avid genealogist, loved writing life histories and histories of places, and he was a "gabber." He loved to visit, talk, share, listen. He was a good man.

Uncle Newell (I never called any of my Walker aunts or uncles their first name, alone. They were always prefaced with the title of Aunt or Uncle. My children called him "Uncle Noodle.") was the last of the 6 Walker siblings to die. All that are left are the in-laws, of which there are 4. Kinda tough to be "one of the remaining." They were a close family - my father and Uncle Newell were good friends, always had each other's back, looked quite a bit alike, and had similar loves - people, food, sharing.

I'm hoping there was a grand reunion in heaven with all the family members waiting at the gates to welcome Newell home. I hope there was fried fish and chicken, scones, pie, and lots of slobbery kisses and stories.

My daughter, Jenna, wrote a beautiful tribute to the Walker family and to her memories of them:

I found out last night that my great Uncle Newell passed away. He was the last living child of my great Grandparents, Mike and Maple Walker.
Although they were a generation removed, I knew these people well- they are my kin.
I remember Donna. She lived west of Rigby, Idaho in house with a well manicured lawn and plenty of yard ornaments. She collected toothpick holders, had a slot machine in her spare bedroom, and always made sure there was an extra homemade craft for me. I love my Aunt Donna.
I remember Doyle- it was always Doyle and Lola. The two names were always attached. We stayed at Doyle and Lola's house in Hawaii. There was a huge turtle in their yard one night and a gecko in their bathroom the next morning. He was a goofball. I love my Uncle Doyle.
I remember Joyce. She always had a place for us in her home in the summers in Rigby. She had the softest beds, and I always remember the photo of her daughter who passed away much too young hanging by the stairs. She dyed her hair black. One trip to her home she was surprised when she mistakenly used what she thought was her hairspray, but was actually my spray deodorant and ended up with white hair! I love my Aunt Joyce.
I remember stories of Gail- he was the one I didn't know so well, but Grandpa spoke reverently and kindly of him. I love my Uncle Gail.
I remember Newell. He owned a restaurant in Idaho Falls, The Gangplank. We made it a priority to stop and have lunch or dinner there anytime we were traveling through. Shrimp and scones. More recently, I briefly saw him at my Grandpa's funeral. He was in the midst of a fight with Leukemia, yet there he stood with a sincere smile on his face, called me by name and a good strong Walker hug. I love my Uncle Newell.
My heart yearns for the eternities- where I sure hope it feels a little like Rigby in the summertime, eating scones, throwing around some stories with the Walkers.
January 5, 2017

Thanks, Jenna, for these beautiful words. Thanks for caring enough to know them. 

Photo taken 1979-1980
Gayle, Newell, Clyde, Doyle
Donna, Maple, MW (Mike), Joyce

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