In Memory

David Walker - Class Of 1969 VIEW PROFILE

David Walker

DAVID GLENN WALKER March 12, 1951 - May 11, 2017 David Glenn Walker passed away on May 11, 2017, embraced by his loving wife, Kerry. He was born on March 12, 1951 in San Francisco, CA, to Lon Ott Walker and Florence Lucile Walker-Lopez. He left this world exactly as he hoped he would and was confident his energy would transfer to another, more wondrous form. Mere words are so inadequate to describe the essence of this man. As a youth he was more at peace in the natural beauty of the world. He attended Pacific High School in San Leandro, CA and was a gifted student athlete. He was a track and basketball star. Graceful, yet fiercely competitive. He arrived in Humboldt County to play for the Humboldt State University basketball team. He played city league basketball for many years after college and formed lasting friendships on the court. First and foremost, David was an abstract painter. He received his BA in Art in 1974 and his MA in Art in 1977. Many of his large, abstract canvases were purchased by Humboldt State University Center Arts and others are rented on an annual basis. They are displayed in the Karshner Lounge, Nelson Hall conference rooms and at the Arcata Community Pool. David was always grateful for the continuing support of his painting by HSU Center Arts, which began with Chuck Lindeman and Burt Nordstrom. The appreciation of David's work by these two gentlemen was an incredible gift to David and not ever forgotten. David was a deep, complex, quiet, and thoughtful man. Rarely would he discuss his art with others...even his wife. Kerry would often see the imagery portrayed in his vast, abstract, colorful paintings only after months of viewing. He shared his thoughts on his paintings, the process, family life and spiritual beliefs in the extensive journals he kept for the last 45 years. Few people knew him well, but he generously shared himself with Kerry. She felt his deep love and affection in his every word, every action and every touch. As in any relationship there were periods of silence. Fortunately those periods were brief because the agony of not feeling connected could not be endured for long. David was most content when painting in his studio and blasting the music of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and the blues artists that influenced these talented musicians. He liked to paint during the night and spent countless all nighters in the painting room at the HSU art department years ago. He recently had a show in Arcata and was producing work to display in September. Every effort will be made to make that show happen in his honor. He had not shown his work since the 70's and 80's until recently and was looking forward to producing much work in the future. Only after years of building and being fully present for his family, did he now have the luxury of painting full time and showing his work again David admired the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, Helen Frankenthaler, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Georgia O'Keefe, R. Crumb, Gaugin, Edward Curtis, Jackson Pollock, Paul Jenkins, Julian Schnabel, Claude Monet, Renoir, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Manet, Klee, de Kooning, Gustave Courbert, and many others. He also enjoyed all of the local artists Humboldt County is fortunate to call our own such as Terry Torgerson, Brian Tripp, Laura Zerzan, Martin Wong, Paul Redelli, John Mattson, and George Van Hook, to name but a few. David greatly respected Native American basketry and bead work and enjoyed the artistry of the Orient. He loved the cave paintings of ancient man and was sure of the creative energies of the universe. There was not much he ever criticized, always acknowledging the personal and difficult journey it can be to express yourself in a creative way. David's own works were very large, powerful, abstract paintings that included a lot of imagery. He was greatly influenced by Native American culture and much of his work would reflect that interest. The work of the White Deerskin Dance, along with another large canvas, Cosmic Splendor, hanging in the Karshner Lounge were perhaps his most well known pieces, however quite a few paintings are in private collections. Due to the difficulty of handling such large canvases, in recent years David painted on much smaller areas. It was a difficult transition at first but eventually he became quite comfortable and prolific in his work. His work evolved over the years, constantly changing, refusing to stick with one style. Fortunately, he followed his own heart and instincts when it came to every important aspect in his life, especially his art. A prominent theme in David's work included the female form. He honored the feminine mystique and was in awe of her power and influence. He greatly respected the powerful sensuality and connection of yin - yang. He had a heightened sensibility when it came to intuitive feelings, sight and touch. He was forever a student, observing and learning. He was a true gentleman. David obtained his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 1992 and very quickly realized that teaching in public schools was not his passion. Yet, he valued his friendships with Greg Stackhouse, Guy Kuttner, and Catherine Arnold. While he enjoyed working with the students, he was unhappy in the structured system and sought to concentrate on his painting. He coached his son in Little League baseball, soccer and basketball and spent a year coaching the freshman boy's team at McKinleyville High School. Again, he found it difficult to administer discipline and realized teaching was very different than performing. David met his wife, Kerry, in 1973 while they were students at Humboldt State. They married in 1976 and purchased their Fieldbrook property shortly thereafter. He named his studio after Jimi Hendrix's song "Little Wing" and requested that song as his wedding song. He built his family a beautiful, hand hewn timber frame home and hand dug a 30 foot well. They lived without power and water for a year; lighting oil lamps, hauling water and ice blocks, and listening to Saturday Night Live on a portable radio. It was a great life! In 1981, David delivered his son, Luke, at home. Carly arrived in 1985. David wanted his hands to be the first to touch his children and he understood that Kerry would be the most comfortable in their home by themselves. When active labor began, he surprised Kerry and put on Rod McKuen's album "The Sea" and patiently, intuitively, waited for his children to jump down. He always knew how to create a wonderful environment. It was perfect. David participated fully in his children's lives whether it be reading to them, riding horses, bikes, catching lizards, coaching sports, enjoying recitals, hosting birthday parties, fishing and anything else his children desired to do. He would not have missed a moment intentionally. When Carly was at UCSF hospital, David would drive back to Humboldt County to attend Luke's many soccer and basketball games. He was diligent in taking many pictures and videos to document our lives. His children brought him much joy and he was always proud of them...yet he deeply felt every painful struggle they endured as if it were his own. While a student at Humboldt State, David kept a special place in his heart for the circle of friends he had met there. Upon his death, these same friends are traveling from afar to honor his life and have been a tremendous support to his wife and children. The friendships of Terry and Joyce Torgerson, Don Smith, Gary and Cynthia Wiberg, Mike Lovelace, Glenn Wills, Martin Arata, David Ludke, Jeff Nielsen, Walt and Judy Ramsey, Tom and Pam Payne, Margot and Hal Genger were important to him, even as life tends to go by, he did not see them often. He often spoke of Ron Perkins and Butch Myers from high school. He loved John and Carol Lyons and their family. David was saddened by the recent passing of Betty Lovie. He loved her spunk and spirit and admired her apple orchard. One special lady, Trisha Stark, held a huge spot in his heart. When she stopped by, David always made a point of coming in the house to visit with her, something he rarely did for other visitors. He felt comfortable around her gentle spirit and enjoyed her company. David loved watching the neighborhood kids grow up and always enjoyed their visits when they were in town. Trisha's brother, Danny Oram, was a tenant in our cabin for 9 years while he studied zoology at HSU. He ran the HSU Wildlife Care Center from the cabin and David delighted in the animals brought on the property for rehabilitation, as did Luke and Carly. As luck would have it, Danny, being a member of the Fieldbrook Fire Department, was the first responder to bolt through the bedroom door to administer aid. It was a great comfort to Kerry to see his face and have him take over. It would be very difficult to find better people than the Stark and Oram families. We are grateful for their friendship and love. David's career in building was special in that he got to work on many beautiful homes in the Trinidad area. He spent over two years doing finish work on the Trinidad Bay home of Bud and Christie Sauble. The Sauble's were family to us and we have many fond memories of them and sharing their lovely home. Bud was a gifted architect building his dream home near Trinidad Head when David met him. David found kindred spirits in both Bud and Christie and loved them completely. David had many fond memories during this period working with Willie Winer, David Groth, David Ralston, Gary Manka, Robert Stewart, Robby Jarvis, and others. A special memory of David's was working with Per Ingelsberg, watching him work on a steep roof in his Norwegian clogs. When Per and Dixie opened Larrupin Caf‚, we had found our favorite restaurant. David had dined at many fine restaurants around the world, but in his mind, Larrupin could not be beat. He made sure his family dined on good food often and avoided fast food as much as possible. He figured as long as money was not spent on inferior food then dining out often was worthwhile. He carried many, many fond memories of Trinidad and the folks who live and work there. He felt a strong connection with the community's gifted and creative folks. David went on to work with Gene Callahan, Robert Stark, Ron and Jeff Romberg, Dann Brauning, Mike Sargent, Eric DeMartini and others before finally working on his own. He learned much from each one of them and admired their artistry and hard work. In later years, David especially loved working with Walt and Judy Ramsey on their beautiful homestead and at the home and business of Tom and Pam Payne. He was adept at keeping busy working with a small circle of wonderful clients who were or soon became good friends. He was honored to contribute to the beauty of their homes. David loved to travel, though would often stay away from cities. Going north, he said, "was magical." He had the good fortune to travel to Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Holland, Canada, and Mexico. In Africa, he rode elephants, visited Victoria Falls, the Serengeti, Olduvai Gorge, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater. He loved the vivid landscape, wildlife and the beautiful people even more. In Holland, he visited the Van Gogh Museum and the sights of Amsterdam. In Mexico, he loved the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza and the waters of Cozumel. In the United States, David had a passion for our national parks. He visited Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Olympic, Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Zion and most recently, Glacier Natl. Park. He was infatuated with grizzlies and read about them often. On Vancouver Island he witnessed many orcas and enjoyed the totem poles in Victoria. In Hawaii, he got to swim with dolphins for an extended period of time. He was always the lucky one to have such magical experiences. In recent years he enjoyed fishing for salmon after a visit to Alaska. The mighty fish eluded him for quite some time but he landed the big one in Weitchpec several years ago, with his son Luke by his side. That was a very special day, one that lifted his spirit for quite some time. Unlike many fisherman, David understood that it was really not about catching the fish but being one with nature while trying. But it was on the McCloud River that David felt his most mystical, spiritual, full heart. He discovered it as a child and made sure his family spent much time there. He spent many months there trout fishing, hiking, participating in sweats at Stewart Hot Springs and just soaking in the area's wonder. He lost his wedding ring while snorkeling in Hawaii. The ring was found by another diver that had left word with a lifeguard. When David decided to ask the lifeguard about it, he was astonished to learn that it had been found and was able to retrieve it from folks who had returned to their San Juan Island home. Interestingly, the man who recovered the ring noted that his wedding anniversary was the same date as ours and he wondered about the Little Wing inscription. But, it was not to be in David's possession for long, as he lost it again on the McCloud River where it it should. David had so many other varied interests. A few included the study of anthropology, astronomy, aliens, Sasquatch, and the mystical wonders of the world. He would lose himself in museums and never passed a bookstore. He taught his family the many constellations in the night sky, how to identify the birds flying overhead and identified the plants and wildlife wherever he ventured. Horseback riding through the beautiful timber property and local beaches was a favorite family pastime. He was vet and farrier and delivered a gorgeous black, Arab filly named Layla. Recently, he spent a lot of time running his Irish Setters on the beach. Bow and Arrow miss his presence, patient love and jerky treats in the evening. These setters came from the small, original genetic pool in Ireland that eventually were bred to be the larger, slower, feathered dogs that most people consider an Irish Setter. The breed was recovered in the 1970's and David always had one in his life. The dogs are smaller reds, with very little feathering, quick and persistent bird dogs. He owned red setters for the last 45 years and was in awe of their energy, stamina and grace. David was an avid reader and spent many hours in bookstores, filling his shelves. He found it difficult to recycle them at times. They were like old friends. His immense collection included every book on Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix and blues musicians. He studied his favorite artists. He was interested in all faiths. He loved the works of Joseph Campbell. His music collection is vast but dominated by Dylan, Hendrix and John Lennon. He favored the blues. David attended many Dylan concerts and in recent years was often fortunate to be seated up front and recent show he was seated next to Bill Walton, who was also staying at the same motel. At one concert, he was convinced Mavis Staples was singing only to him! Music was always playing whether he was painting or working. He was interested in the Tao of Healing and other alternative medicine, but he felt massage and the exquisite transmission of energy through touch was the most powerful gift...and he was right. David loved to garden and grow flowers, especially roses. He always had flowers in a vase for Kerry and planted her favorite sweet peas many times. He generously shared his property and garden with the local deer, bears, raccoons, foxes, elk, wild turkeys and mountain lions... in awe of their presence. If his garden and flowers got eaten, he would just plant more for them, happy he could live on their property. His battle with gophers was not going well and he increasingly felt them mocking him. In recent months he despaired at not keeping up with the yard, as he preferred painting or reading, yet the thought of anyone else doing it was difficult to imagine. He resisted it mightily. He felt that if he hired help it would have no meaning. His home and property were his sanctuary and he felt blessed to have enjoyed many wonderful memories in the beautiful redwoods. He loved Humboldt County... its beautiful rivers, beaches, mountains and timber. David rarely displayed impatience or anger...he was so calm, gentle and sensitive. Yet, he suffered deeply when loved ones were struggling on their own journey. He knew he was powerless to intervene on anyone's path yet he prayed deeply for everyone he knew that was suffering. He always had tremendous faith that all would be okay, no matter how the ending was written. Though our sorrow is vast and deep, David left us with many tangible gifts in his death as he did in life: his beautiful paintings, his beautiful home, gorgeous flowers, and his impressive journals. His heart beats in his son and daughter and he loved them so much. He shared a great love with Kerry as illustrated in a journal entry only three months after meeting her and enjoyed that love for 44 amazing years: "Kerry, do not think it often I find a heart as warm and beaming as yours. A wonder. If you were a liquid form I'd float you very slowly with the power of a glacier. Dissolving masses of color on your way. When you were stretched and your luminous fibers were pulled tight, taut across the globe, I'd sprinkle powders of blue and gold streamers of purple and mists of crimson and pink all across your belly. Then I would love you." David is survived by his wife, Kerry; son, Luke; daughter, Carly; sister, Barbara Walker; nieces, Valerie and Christine; nephew, Travis Kincheloe and his wife, Brittany. We will miss him. We will see him in the sky above, in the tall grass, in the ones we love. David, I could have held you for a million years and never realized the time. You gave me shelter from the storms and if there is eternity I'll love you there again. Thank you for letting me be your north country girl. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Walker home, 516 Rock Pit Road, McKinleyville, (Fieldbrook) CA. Please bring a pot luck dish if possible and stories to share. Drinks will be provided. Please RSVP at (707) 839-0435 so that we may have a general idea of how many friends to expect. We are looking forward to sharing many wonderful memories. Everyone is welcome. Please sign the guestbook at - See more at:

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05/31/17 11:00 AM #1    

Kathy Almand (Wharton) (1969)

I'm sorry to hear David passed away. I remember him as quiet, friendly, polite and a good basketball player. Thank you for sharing the wonderful life he had with you and your children. Sounds like a life well lived. My sympathies to you all.   Kathy Almand Wharton



05/31/17 11:58 AM #2    

John Hunter (1969)

Very sorry to hear of Davids passing, besides being school mates we were neighbors, he lived on Douglas court and I on Douglas drive. We had a pool table that was a daily draw and we ended up moving further down the street and had a basket ball court in the back yard, a bigger draw! We would make sand surf boards im my garage, always to Davids designs, and go down to Alameda beach toss them in the water and run like hell to jump on em' for a short ride. The last I ever heard of David was about him going to school at Humbolt, and living in a tree house. RIP my friend, John.

06/02/17 11:43 AM #3    

Patti Knoblich Gonzales (1969)

I remember David being a great artist even in the sixth grade......we went through all the

years at Woodrow Wilson, John Muir, and Pacific High School......He wrote Tiger on his baseball

glove for me in the 7th grade.   RIP David. I hope we get to see some of your art.


06/05/17 05:16 PM #4    

Sheila Greathead (1969)

 I'm so sad to hear about David. I also went to elementary through high school with David,  and remember mostly his sense of humor. He kidded around a lot, and during our 6th grade project (cutting cardboard) he nicknamed me Chiquela. (Loved that nickname...). I didn't know about his later artwork and hope his family will share some of it with us. 

06/12/17 05:22 PM #5    

Kathy Suchman (McKenzie) (1969)

I also went to to elementary, junior high, and high school with David. So many memories of a great guy. Such sad news. My heart goes out to his family.

08/10/19 12:55 AM #6    

Tom Brody (1969)

At the time that I was at Pacific High, I had some understanding that Mr. Walker was a track star.  However, it was not until today (August 10, 2019) that I noticed that David Walker had a consistent and driving interest in art (as in painting), nature (as in national parks), and rock'n'roll.  It seems that (aside from athletic abilities), Mr. Walker was more like me than any other person from Pacific High School.   Although my daytime job relates to "biotechnology," I also have an art resume.  I am skilled at painting (enamels, acrylic, oils), and I've exhibited my landscape photographs on several occasions: (1)  ASUC Galleries, University of California, Berkeley, CA; July 1987. (2)  Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA; Dec. 1988-April 1989. (3)  Albany Arts Gallery, Albany, CA; Sept. 1991-Oct.1991. (4)  Photocentral Gallery, Hayward, CA; March 1992-May 1992. (5)  Olive Hyde Gallery, Fremont, CA; July 1992-August 1992. (6)  Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, Hayward, CA; Dec. 1992-Feb. 1993. (7)  Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo, CA; Jan. 1995-March 1995. (8)  Randall Museum, San Francisco, CA; Dec. 1995-Feb. 1996. (9)  Crab Cove Nature Center, Alameda, CA; August 2019 (group exhibition).   If I had known of Mr. Walker's devotion to painting and to national parks, I would have attempted to contact him a couple of decades ago.  --Tom Brody

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