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1919 Richard 2020

Richard A. Walker, DDS

September 30, 1919 — October 26, 2020

Richard entered into eternal life on Monday, October 26, 2020. He was born in Kalamazoo on September 30, 1919, the son of the late Fred and Athol (Youngs) Walker. He spent his youth growing up in Park Ridge, IL and his last two years of high school in Kingsport, Tennessee. While attending Kingsport High School he played baseball and was on the state championship basketball team. He went on to attend Kalamazoo College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and also played on the football, golf, and basketball teams. In 2011, he was inducted to the Kalamazoo College Athletic Hall of Fame along with his teammates, honoring their 1939 basketball team for winning the MIAA Championship. In stunning fashion, Dick scored the winning basket in the closing seconds to clinch it. Upon graduation from Kalamazoo College in 1941, he attended the University of Michigan Dental School earning his D.D.S. degree in 1944. World War II was in progress so he went straight from dental school to being inducted into the Navy Dental Corps where he became a Lieutenant, serving two years in the Philippines. Upon return, he found himself in a rare situation. He anticipated discharge but instead was assigned to be a dentist for the Marines and then the Army. During his military service, he met his bride Kathryn (Kay) Felton who was serving as a WAVE in Key West. Soon after their discharges, Dick opened a private dental practice in Kalamazoo and married Kay in 1947 they were married 63 years. He took pride in serving his patients for forty years, he retired on his birthday in 1987. Dick was very community and service minded. He served as Vice President of the Kalamazoo College Alumni Association, member and former President of the Board of Governor’s for the U of M Dental School, member and former president of the Kalamazoo Valley Dental Society, member and former president of the Loy Norrix PTA, member and former president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, former board member for the Kalamazoo Art Institute, lifetime member and former president of the Michigan Dental Association and former board member for the Kalamazoo Country Club. Dick was a member of the Kalamazoo Country Club for 60 years. He won the “Red Blazer” at the Member/Guest tournament with his son Steve in 1993. Dick was a founding parish member of St. Monica Church in Kalamazoo, a member of Kiwanis, for over 50 years and a longtime member of the Kalamazoo Chapter of B.P.O.E. He won their National Elk’s doubles bowling championship in 1989 with his partner Dr. Ted Edison. Dick was also a long time member of the Michigan Dental Golf Association. His passions were playing golf, watching golf, talking about golf, reading about golf, watching sports; especially U of M football and basketball, traveling (especially trips to Hilton Head with his family), gardening, bowling, dancing, playing cards, and writing. He even published a book. After his retirement, he developed a passion for researching stocks and followed the stock market daily. Gull Lake has always been close to his heart as he grew up visiting his grandparents who owned a cottage on the lake. Dick and Kay loved it so much they bought their own home at Gull Lake in 1976 and spent every summer enjoying it. Everyone who knew Dick Walker, from his patients, school friends, golfing buddies and social friends said, “What a great guy.” He loved his family and leaves them with special memories. He will be missed and long remembered. He was preceded in death by his wife Kathryn (Felton) Walker, brother, James Walker, and his sister Marjorie Sells. He is survived by his family who love him very much, including his three children; David (Gail) Walker, Martha (Keith Cramer) Smoker, Stephen Walker; grandchildren, Julianne Walker, David Walker, Katrina Smoker, Stephen Smoker, Patrick Smoker and Hudson Walker; two grand dogs; many other loving family members and wonderful friends. A funeral mass in celebration of Dick’s life will be held in the summer of 2021, when it is safe for friends and family to gather. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Monica’s Church or the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan.
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