E. Richard Walker
Sequim resident Elzie Richard (Dick) Walker, 85, died Wednesday, January 25, 2017, peacefully at his home.
Dick was born October 26, 1931 at Elma to Elzie Hubert and Minnie Ruth (Frye) Walker. After attending schools in other areas of Washington, Dick graduated from Elma High School in 1949.
He enjoyed attending high school reunions, his last held in August 2015.
At the age of 17, Dick drove south to west Sacramento to visit his uncle. Being underage, his uncle signed the paperwork, and Dick entered the U.S. Air Force.
After training, Dick shipped out to Okinawa, Japan, where he served as an air borne radar mechanic rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Being discharged in Marin County, California, he attended college in San Francisco, attending Hastings before graduating from San Francisco Law School with a Doctorate of Juris Prudence.
As he left the Air Force and before becoming a full time student, Dick spent a brief time teaching dance at an Arthur Murray Dance Center in Marin County.
Dick worked for the court crier for the U.S. District Judge in the Northern District Edwin Murphy. He also was a clerical aide for the U.S. Court Clerk’s Office for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District.
As he finished his degree, he was law clerk to Judge Oliver Carter of the Northern District of California.
Leaving San Francisco Dick took a position with the Western Banc Corporation of Los Angeles. Here he met celebrities and political figures including Richard Nixon.
Returning north, Dick accepted the position of Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District, in Sacramento.
Then Dick went to work for state Senator Ed Regan, working out of Regan’s office in Weaverville, California. During this time Dick began working with the Hoopa Indians in Humboldt County.
He became the District Attorney/County Counsel for Trinity County before heading back towards Sacramento, becoming the Public Defender of Yolo County.
Then on July 1, 1971, Dick was sworn in as the first Federal Defender appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. A position he would hold until 1987.
During his tenure the Federal Defenders office grew in size and influence, and he was known for his creative and persuasive arguments in court. His most famous pretrial work was with Lynnette “Squeaky” Fromme, who was imprisoned for her failed assignation attempt of President Gerald Ford.
“It is as a direct result of his efforts and practices that the Defender’s office in the Eastern District of California to this day enjoys a working relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s office as favorable as in any other district in the country. That is Dick Walker’s legacy…”
To read the entire July 2002 interview: http://courthistory.tripod.com/walker.html
In 1993 Dick retired to Sequim, Washington, where he played golf with as much focus as he had practiced law. He continued to delight everyone who had the pleasure of dining at his home. Cooking was his favorite hobby and his hotcakes will be truly missed. As will his green beans and fried oysters
And Dick’s wine glass, having provided endless sips of Chardonnay, has been retired.
Dick was preceded in death by his two sisters Hazel Buchanan and Florence Simard; his brother Kenneth Walker; and his sister-in-law who shared his home for many years, Joanne Walker.
He is survived by his son Colin Walker, and Keico Nakamura of Hamamatsu, Japan; his son Paul Walker and family, wife Julie Walker of Chula Vista, California, daughter Colleen Walker of San Francisco and son Ben Walker of Chula Vista; his daughter Beth Walker of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts; and his daughter Catherine Walker McKinney of Sequim.
Being surrounded by family, enjoying his role as uncle, he is also survived by cousins, numerous nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews, particularly delighting in being called grand uncle.
As he wished, Dick’s ashes will be scattered onto the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A ceremony will take place on March 19, 2017, during the 8:20 am sailing of the ferry, Coho, crossing between Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C. In Victoria a no-host lunch will be held.
Contributions in his memory may be made to Planned Parenthood, an organization Dick held in great esteem having served on the Board of Directors in Sacramento. Or to a charity of your choice.
Raise a glass of chardonnay.