OBITUARY

John E. Walker

June 14, 1925August 28, 2020
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John E. Walker, 95, of Kansas City, MO, passed peacefully from this life early Friday, August 28, 2020 surrounded by his eight children. Though his body was weak the last six months of his life, John maintained a happy, positive attitude that has been his most enduring trait, comforting others while being cared for and comforted.

John was born June 14, 1925 to Charles and Mae Walker in Boone, Iowa. John’s parents Charles and Mae provided for their three children, Dean, John, and Mary Margaret, especially during difficult economic times. The three were raised in a home that valued Catholic faith, hard work, and doing what was right.

John’s children often heard stories of growing up in Boone and later Lohrville, Iowa. It’s not difficult to picture that carefree, fun-loving young man who enjoyed playing the trumpet or working with his grandparents on their farm. “Swish Walker” loved sports (and perhaps a tall tale or two). In his teen years, John loved traveling to nearby Carroll, Iowa to listen to the music of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and Jimmy Dorsey. His sister Mary Margaret was often John’s dance partner, helping him perfect the dance moves that he would later use at Father-Daughter dances, weddings, and parties hosted by his children.

After graduating from Lohrville High School, John enlisted in the Army Air Corps where he served for three years as a staff sergeant. With the help of the GI Bill, John attended Loras College in Dubuque, IA, graduating in 1950. He was employed by International Harvester in 1950, working in sales around central Iowa. His bachelor life quickly came to an end, however, when his Aunt Florence introduced him to a beautiful young nurse, Margaret Wright. On October 1, 1955, John and Margaret were married in Des Moines, IA.

Rearing children and working at International Harvester was the work of this young couple. As John shot his way up in company management with multiple job transfers, Margaret was having children and raising them at each destination. From Des Moines, IA (Brian), to Marshalltown, IA (Theresa and Janann), to Springfield, IL (Peggy, Mary, and Mike), to Indianapolis, IN (Julie) and back to Des Moines (Laurie), Margaret was at home raising their eight children while John provided. In 1972, John and Margaret made their final move to Kansas City, MO. When John came to the family with another job promotion offer and transfer, Margaret and many of the teenaged children expressed disdain (and a lot of tears) for this idea. The Walkers were in Kansas City to stay!

John and Margaret invested close to 100 years in Catholic education for their children. Many memories were made in these schools, but St. Regis Grade School and O’Hara High School were the two in which John and Margaret took the most interest and spent the most time. John served on the Parish Council at St. Regis for many years. Both attended nearly all basketball, volleyball, and football games, as well as plays and musicals, drill team dances and cheerleading at St. Regis and O’Hara. No child felt neglected and many gallons of gas were used to show their children how much they loved them and how proud they were.

When the last child graduated from college, John and Margaret shifted their attention to themselves. After retiring from International Harvester and two post-retirement jobs at Ruan Trucking and KCR International, John enjoyed volunteering for local Catholic institutions. He counted money at the St. Joseph Hospital gift store and St. Matthew Catholic Church. He was a founding president of the Southeast Kansas City Serra Club. He was also a fourth degree in the Knights of Columbus. John embraced his Catholic faith and made many wonderful friends through these associations.

After his wife Margaret passed in 2005, John deepened friendships with the wonderful people at St. Regis. He was a regular lector and Eucharistic Minister and valued leader in conversations about schools, church, and community. He often spoke of how thankful he was to have friends at St. Regis who helped him after losing his beloved Margaret.

John lived by the simple motto that life is best lived with “faith, family, and friends.” John’s faith in God drove his daily interactions with others. John extended loving kindness to friends and strangers alike. John made loving God and sharing this faith with his family his greatest mission.

When living alone became more difficult, John moved to a retirement community and found love again. Janet O’Connor and John only had little under a year together, but in that time shared a wonderful companionship that sustained them both. 2020 has been a tough time for many, but John and Janet told a different story.

John was a loving father, a wise and wonderful advice giver, a fun and engaging grandfather and great-grandfather, a gifted, quick-with-a-retort communicator, and a man admired and loved by all who had the fortune to know him. He will be forever remembered and daily missed. Victor Hugo wrote, “to love another person is to see the face of God.” Anyone that loved John would know a sense of the divine.

John is preceded in death by his wife Margaret Walker, his parents Charles and Mae, his brother Monsignor Dean Walker, his sister Mary Margaret Dutton, and many beloved brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and nephew Paul. John is survived by Janet O’Connor; children Brian (Karen) Walker, Theresa (Dennis) Duffin, Janann (Greg) Vardakis, Peggy Waker, Mary (Mark) Jordahl, Mike (Lori) Walker, Julie (Pete) Browne, and Laurie (Chris) Delong. He is also survived by fifteen grandchildren and spouses: John (Lauren) Walker, Christine (Matt) Trecker, Katie (Jack) Contri, Shannon (Neil) Wilmarth, Mark (Jenny) Vardakis, Megan (Joe) Longstreet, Kelly Jordahl, Margaret Jordahl, Thomas Delong, Charlie Delong, Maureen Browne, Joe Browne, Jack Browne and ten great-grandchildren, Avery, Briar, Edie, Ruth, Finn, Logan, Everett, Jane, Ruby, and Lucy.

The family is forever grateful for the team from Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care (Kim, you’re an angel) for their compassionate support, the men and women at Brightstar Care who helped us with Dad’s daily and nightly care, the dedicated staff at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Retirement Community, and the priests who ministered to John over this last year.

The visitation will be held at McGilley State Line Chapel (12301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO 64145) Tuesday, September 1 at 5-8 pm where social distancing and masks will be required to keep all friends and family of John Walker safe. A private funeral mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, September 2 at St. John Francis Regis (8941 James A. Reed Rd, Kansas City, MO 64138). Condolences may be left online at www.mcgilleystatelinechapel.com.

Memorial contributions may be given to St. John Francis Regis Catholic Church, which has been so important to the Walker family for forty-eight years.

  • DONATIONS

  • St. John Francis Regis Catholic Church

Services

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, September 1, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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Memories

John E. Walker

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Maureen Williams

September 3, 2020

Dear Walker family,
Your dad was the best of the best. While at OHS, I knew I could always count on him and your mom because their generosity was boundless. My mother adored him and always had a smile when sharing stories of her visits with John. Ned had the pleasure of seeing him regularly at Teetering Rocks and thoroughly enjoyed their conversations. It was evident when I was teaching (all?) of you that the joy and love your parents had for each other was passed on to you and to others who shared their lives. He will be missed, but, oh, what a treasure of memories! To the O'Connor family, how blessed you are to have shared his joy with your family, especially Janet, even though late in life. It serves as a reminder that life brings us surprises regardless of our age! Ned and I will think of him often, always with his smiling eyes.

Lisa Key

September 2, 2020

This world was a much better world because of John Walker in it! His obituary was so well written and described him perfectly. There is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit was always present when I was around John when I worked for him at KCR International.

To John’s children, I’m sure you know how blessed you are to have been raised by him .. he’s one in a billion! Let’s celebrate his life instead of mourning his death!

Mindy Kassing

September 2, 2020

To Laurie, Julie, and all of the amazing Walker family and to the precious Mrs. O’Connor,

I extend my deepest sympathy to each of you. What an incredible man Mr. Walker was! This is such a lovely, well-written obituary. He loved God, his family, all people; just loved life; which is exactly what I saw in his daughter Laurie, who was a year ahead of me at O’Hara. I also loved the pictures Laurie would post of she and her Dad together in these later years. I know you all have such warm, wonderful memories and I pray those will help you this difficult time. You all are in my prayers.

Love, Mindy (McNamara) Kassing

Bob Washburn

September 1, 2020

I was a Teetering Rocks Villas neighbor of John’s, for a number of years. John was an individual that I wished I had known all my life. He had a great sense of humor coupled with a charming personality. I will remember John with the word gentleman.When I hear the word gentleman, I will be thinking about him.
John E. Walker was a true gentleman.

Maureen Riley

September 1, 2020

Dear Walker Family,
We want to offer my deepest condolences to you all. Your dad was a wonderful man and will be dearly missed.
Sincerely Mike and Maureen Riley

Kathy Wiley

September 1, 2020

Love and prayers to you all.

Msgr. Robert Murphy

September 1, 2020

Dear Walker family: Just seeing your father's picture makes me smile! He was a faith-filled friend. I think of many jolly laughs we shared through the years! Please know that I will lift him and all of you in prayer and at my Mass.

Most Sincerely
Monsignor Bob Murphy

William Wrigjy

September 1, 2020

The Wrights have been blessed with a large extended family. The Walkers have have always been among the most loving and generous. John and my Aunt Margaret raised an incredible loving talented and generous family . When I and my brothers and sisters we're informed of a pending family gathering the first question always asked was "are the Walkers coming?" We all greatly loved Uncle John's warm friendly and welcoming personality. He will be greatly missed by me and my brother and sisters and their spouses. The good Lord now has him and my Aunt in the hollow of his hand together with my parents and my grand parents and other uncles and aunts. I bet it's one heck of a party now. John has arrived.

Jackie (Mayer) Dare

September 1, 2020

I'm so sorry to hear of John's passing. Our condolences to the family. John told me once that my mom and dad introduced him to his wife.
Again, our deepest sympathy to his family. We will keep you in our prayers.

Sharon Kaszar

September 1, 2020

My deepest sympathy to Mr. Walker's family. Remember him from the days when my husband worked for him at IH. He was a wonderful person and fantastic role model. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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