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OBITUARY

Dale L. Walker

3 August, 19358 December, 2015
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Dale L. Walker, a widely known award-winning writer and former director of News and Publications at the University of Texas at El Paso, died Tuesday. He was 80. Walker's family said he died of natural causes. He had been hospitalized in recent months for heart and other ailments. UTEP President Diana Natalicio once credited Walker with helping the university create its public image through his writing and editorial judgment while also helping the institution steer through difficult controversies over the years. Walker retired Sept. 1, 1992, after almost 27 years at UTEP. He directed the News and Publications Office from 1966 to 1989. He also served a stint as director of UTEP's Texas Western Press. At UTEP, Walker helped establish NOVA, the campus news magazine. He served under six different presidents at UTEP, according to a 1993 profile published in NOVA. In the late 1960s, Walker wrote a letter to the Bhutanese royal family that helped to establish the now long-standing relationship between UTEP and the Kingdom of Bhutan. "During his tenure as editor of Nova magazine and director of UTEP News and Publications and Texas Western Press, Dale Walker’s impact extended well beyond the scope of his job description," UTEP President Diana Natalicio said. "His outreach to the royal family of Bhutan in the 1960s helped forge the valuable friendship that UTEP and the Bhutanese people maintain to this day, and his work helped create UTEP’s image in the public's mind. "In Dale’s nearly three decades of service, the university was extremely fortunate to have had such a talented chronicler and his distinct writing voice." A lifelong lover of books and words, Walker — often described as one of the outstanding popular historians in the United States — is perhaps better known as an author of an estimated 20 books. He also published countless articles in 130 periodicals ranging from Newsweek to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Writer's Digest. In 1992, Walker served as president of the national organization Western Writers of America, which presented him its lifetime achievement award in Western history and literature in 2000. The winner of four Spur Awards mostly wrote pre-Civil War Western American history, military history and biography. He also wrote extensively about novelist Jack London. "Writing professionally is a merciless life," he once told an interviewer for NOVA magazine. "The rewards are scanty and the toil is great. I wouldn't have it any other way." Walker had countless literary friends and acquaintances, including Elroy Bode, an El Paso writer and retired English teacher. "Dale was my best El Paso friend for over 50 years. We shared favorite books, favorite writers," Bode said. "I admired his talent, productivity, devotion to the written word. Books, words were the cornerstones of his life. We spent many afternoons at a Village Inn, talking over cups of coffee about life, books, world affairs. We laughed and shared without restraint as only best friends can." Walker also had a reputation at UTEP as a valuable resource for many university administrators. Wynn Anderson, who served as an assistant to various UTEP presidents, once said of Walker: "I certainly couldn't have done my job without Dale's calm presence in a crisis." Born Aug. 3, 1935, in Decatur, Ill., Walker was inspired to write after getting hooked on Jack London novels as a boy. He served in the Navy in 1958 and later settled in El Paso, where he met his wife, Alice McCord Walker. Early in his El Paso career, Walker worked as a stringer for Newsweek and news writer for Channel 9-KTSM. He also wrote on a freelance basis from home before UTEP hired him in 1966. Walker once listed “Januarius MacGahan,” the story of an American war correspondent, as one of the favorite books that he wrote. His books have been reviewed in the New York Times, Washington Post, Saturday Review, New Republic, New Yorker, The Nation, Atlantic and the Los Angeles Times. Walker spent part of his retirement years in a book-filled room at his West Side house. He was often reluctant to discuss his own work. Walker is survived by his wife, Alice; five children, Eric Walker and wife Debra of Virginia, Chris Walker and wife Alexa of Virginia, Michael Walker and wife Lydia of El Paso, John Walker and wife LaDawn of Dallas, and Dianne Walker of Iowa; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Visitation and services are scheduled from 5-9 p.m. Monday at Martin Funeral Home, 128 N. Resler. Burial will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.

Services

  • Visitation

    Monday, 14 December , 2015

  • Vigil Service

    Monday, 14 December , 2015

  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, 15 December , 2015

Memories

Dale L. Walker

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22 February 2016

To Mrs. Walker and the Walker Family ~ The family of Henry Allen (Will Henry/Clay Fisher) extend their deepest sympathy and condolences on the loss of Dale, a true friend of Will Henry.
Prayers ...
Chris & Roberta Allen & Family
Valerie (Allen) and William Brasher & Family

21 December 2015

My thoughts & prayers are with Dale's family. He shall be missed, but never forgotten.
The world of Jack London has lost a leading scholar.
Fred Fischbach Executive Director
Jack London Foundation

David Schlottmann

21 December 2015

Although we never personally met, I have considered Dale a good friend for many years; he was always willing to help on various Jack London projects. We'll miss him.

Jacqueline Fairchild Jackson

17 December 2015

My sincere sympathy to all the Walker family. I had the privilege of working in the UT El Paso News and Information Dept. while I was a student at UTEP 1965-1969. As students, we were the first to work with Dale and NOVA -- I have many fond memories of doing the mailouts for the magazine -- putting labels on by hand and sorting for mailing -- a lot has changed since then! My memories of Dale are nothing but warm and positive. He was a wonderful, humble man who had a passion for writing and informing. Those days will always be among my most favorite memories for having had the pleasure of working with such a wonderful man. Please know you and all your family will be in my prayers.

14 December 2015

To The Walker Family:

My best wishes to you at this time. As a UTEP student in the mid to late 1970s, I was introduced to Dale by my high school teacher and writing mentor Elroy Bode. Dale gave me the opportunity to intern in the news and publications office and with Texas Western Press; two of my first publications as a writer were in NOVA, thanks to the opportunity Dale provided. Mainly, I want to recognize his kindness to me (he even took me out for coffee a couple of times to talk about WORDS) and especially the things I learned from him that have served me well both as a writer and as a longtime teacher of writing. The heavy weight of condolence I send to you is equal to my appreciation for what he meant to me,

Steve Kunert
Senior Instructor/Academic Advisor
The School of Writing, Literature and Film
Oregon State University

Candy Moulton

10 December 2015

Alice and Family, I send deepest sympathy on behalf of Western Writers of America. Dale's contribution to WWA and to Western Literature are unmatched. We were so honored to be able to induct him into the Western Writers Hall of Fame last June. Personally, he was my dear friend, confidant, advisor, editor, and I loved every minute I spent with him on the phone just talking about what we both loved so much -- writing. -- Candy Moulton

Lynda

10 December 2015

Sarah and the Walker Family,

Our deepest condolences on the loss of your grandfather. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.

Always, Lynda and Hannah

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