Born to Harland and Dorothy Walker on March 28, 1936 in Des Plaines, Illinois, Bert was the youngest of three children. After losing his father at age 16, Bert began a very successful career in the United States Air Force, eventually earning the rank of Lt. Colonel. While at the Officer’s Club in Montgomery, Alabama, he met the lovely Margie Kathleen McCary (Kathy), the love of his life. The two were married on August 8, 1964, six weeks after meeting. Air Force travels took Kathy and Bert to several of the United States, Bolivia, and Panama. During this time in their lives, Kathy gave birth to two boys – Curtis and Cary. Bert continued his education, earning a Master’s Degree in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and continued to receive regular promotions in the Air Force, eventually becoming a Lt. Colonel in charge of the Air Command and Staff College at Memphis State University, and earning a Medal of Meritorious Service. Bert retired after twenty years in the Air Force, and the Walker family eventually settled in Waupaca, Wisconsin, where they owned and operated Walker’s Barn Antiques for thirty years, and raised their sons. As their sons matured, the couple were able to travel overseas once again, visiting Spain, Portugal, the Baltic countries, Sweden, Russia, France, and many others. Bert was such a capable linguist he was able to speak Spanish fluently, but also French, Portuguese, German, and he even learned a good deal of Russian in his 70s! The couple moved to St. George, UT in 2012 to spend time with their granddaughters, and escape the mid-Western winters. They were married for 52 years, making the first thing he said upon seeing her seem especially prescient, if not perfectly accurate: “If I could marry her, I would never have another problem in my life.” Eventually Alzheimer’s disease became evident, and he succumbed after a year without his extremely sharp mind.
Bert is preceded in death by Kathy and his brother Scott. He is survived by his sister, France Stenberg (Carroll), of Houston, TX; son, Curtis (Janet) of Dammeron Valley, UT; son, Cary (Amy) of Oregon, WI; and four wonderful grandchildren – Jonah, Nika, Savannah, and Alexa. He is mourned deeply by family and many dear friends across the country.
We are all very thankful at the loving support he received throughout his illness, particularly from the caretakers at Suntree Hospice, Home Instead, and The Meadows Memory Care Unit, where he lived for nearly a year.
A memorial service will be held in Bert’s honor at the Plainfield Cemetery in Plainfield, Wisconsin, on Sunday, July 23rd.
In lieu of flowers, Bert’s family requests that friends and family send donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a charity to which Bert donated generously for many years.