Robert Edward Walker passed away on Memorial Day, May 25, 2020. He was born March 19, 1928 in Isabella, CA (where the lake resides today) to William and Elbe Walker. He was raised in Kernville, CA and for the first two years, went to Kern Valley High School. Then, he transferred to East Bakersfield High School where he graduated in 1947. In 1949, he worked as a junior firefighter in Keene, CA for the Kern County Fire Department. Then he was drafted into the United Stated Army in 1950 during the Korean War, and served as a fireman. After the war, he rejoined the Kern County Fire Department where he worked and attended two years at Bakersfield Junior College. He retired from the fire department in 1983 with the rank of Captain at Station 13 in Lorraine, CA.
His family has a long and colorful history in Kern County. He is related to the trailblazer Joseph Reddeford Walker who was part to the manifest destiny of western expansion. He discovered Yosemite and Walker pass among other places. His great uncle is the notorious local gunslinger and bootlegger, Newt Walker of the Walker-Burton feud that occurred in the Kern River Valley. Their story has been told in numerous Western Magazines. His uncle, Artis Manley Walker, was a poet, historian, and a kern county supervisor. Robert was especially proud of his Native American heritage of Northern Paiute Indian on his mother’s side.
Loving the outdoors, he liked hunting, fishing, and hiking. He also won several quick draw contests. As a young man he was very athletic and was spotted by a talent scout for the St. Louis Brown’s baseball farm team. However, he chose to stay because he loved working for the fire department. Other interests were playing cards like a family favorite called “Pedro.” He would often say, “No, No that’s not when you off-suit!”
A lifetime resident of Kern County, he belonged and supported many organizations such as St. Philips Catholic Church and the America Legion Bakersfield Post 26. He was a member in the Delano Elks Lodge #1761, where he enjoyed hosting the October Dinner with his friends and members of Tonky’s crew. He was a lifelong member of the American Slavonic Social Club of Delano. He joined the club in 1974 with his wife and her family. This is when he and his father-in-law began hosting an annual luncheon continuously until 2019.
Throughout his life, he remained active. He was blessed with good health, a quick wit, and a down-to-earth personality. Robert Walker was many things to many people such as: soldier, fire captain, family man, friend, and gentleman. He is survived by his wife Janice Kay Walker, two sons Joseph and Clay Walker, and Daughter Stephanie Walker. In addition, he has many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. His sisters Lillian, Vivian, and June preceded him in death. He will be truly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Visitation will take place on Thursday, June 11, 2020 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at Doughty-Calhoun-O’Meara funeral home located 1100 Truxtun Ave.
Graveside service will be held 10:00 am Friday, June 12, 2020 at Hillcrest Memorial Park located at 9101 Kern Canyon Rd. with honors from Kern County Fire Department and Associated Veterans Honor Guard