Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Ivors Walker, Jr., USAF, Retired, was a member of the intrepid population of sons and daughters of America later called the greatest generation, reared in a great depression and forged in the fire of a world war. He was born in Georgetown, Texas, on February 10, 1923, the son of rancher, barber, and commissioner Arthur Sr. and his wife Gladys Boydston. Young Arthur worked hard on the family ranch, wrangling cattle and sheep all the while keeping an eye on the sky in case an airplane flew by. While in college at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and young Arthur enlisted in the Army Air Force Flying Cadet Program and embarked on his extensive army training regimen, receiving his commission as a 2nd Lt. with his Aviator’s Wings. On September 2, 1944, he married the love of his life, Blanche Nellie Vierra of Honolulu, Hawaii, at Marfa, Texas, and they spent the next 31 years while in the military traveling throughout Japan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, and California.
In his retirement years, Arthur became a real estate broker where he and Blanche helped other military families find homes in the Universal City area outside of Randolph AFB, TX. They were married for 76 years and had four lovely children, nine wonderful grandchildren, and fifteen amazing great-grandchildren.
To all of those who knew him and loved him, Arthur Walker was a Warrior, the Colonel, a Patriot. To his family, the Warrior, Colonel, Patriot became the math homework helper, Santa’s lookout on Christmas Eve, a close relative of Aunt Nappy, goat tail sandwich maker, Bar-B-Q expert, story teller, playful jokster, a teacher of how to tell time, and as his children became teens, he taught them how to drive the family car (and pass the driving test).
Arthur grew up on a family ranch in Texas, tending sheep, goats, cattle and horses; churning butter, slopping pigs, cleaning the chicken coop. He was about twelve when the miracle of electricity came to the ranch. His eyes were on the skies and with the advent of Pearl Harbor, he became a pilot in the Army Air Corps. Though he traveled the world for decades courtesy of the US Air Force, he and his Bride created a nurturing home with every military move in which to raise their four children.
He had a Texas-sized enthusiasm for John Wayne movies, Glen Miller’s Big Band sound, weekend football games on TV with the family, devouring Mom’s beef enchiladas smothered in cheese and raw onions. His favorite dessert was a gallon tub of chocolate ice cream, shared with anyone else who had a spoon.
Arthur had an unwavering conviction to his morals, ethics and integrity. He was a private person who rarely shared his inner world. He was often perceived as larger than life, viewed perhaps through his attributes of discipline, honesty, confidence, respectful engagement, and genuine courtesy, consideration, and kindness toward others.
Arthur, you are deeply missed.
Arthur, Jr., born in Georgetown,
Blond hair and bright, blue eyes
Fair skin burning under hot Texan skies,
Moving to the stone ranch house at age four,
Tarantulas and blowing tumbleweeds,
Sheep, cattle, horses, dogs
Gathering eggs, milking cows,
Tending the cattle
Riding horses doing chores,
Learning to whistle sheepdog cues
Reading cherished Zane Gray books and Tarzan
Hauling ice to repay his father for
his 1927 Model T Ford,
On quiet Texas nights under the stars,
Going outside to hook up the battery
Bringing big band music out to the ranch,
Glenn Miller, his trusted companion,
Gazing up at the skies watching airplanes fly by,
Imagining that he was up there with them.
WWII changing the world again,
Tulare and the Stearman Kaydet, Marfa and the AT17 Bobcat
Blanche, Marriage, Marfa
Hobbs and the B17,
Little ones sitting on his lap
While he told stories of
Black eyed peas and Smartnin’ pills
“How much it weigh?”
Teaching integrity, dependability, honor, honesty,
Adios for now, dear Colonel
With love and gratitude for shaping our lives