Charles Wayne Walker, 96, of Fowler passed away on June 8, 2019, at the Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. He was born on March 18, 1923, in Ordway, Colorado, at his Aunt Josie’s home.
A terrible spring snowstorm kept from getting news to his dad that he had arrived. At that time, rural telephones had not come to the area. A neighbor finally got to Ordway several days later. As he was driving past the Walker place, Wayne's dad was in the yard and the neighbor hollered out the window, "It's another boy.” He had three older brothers.
He grew up on the family farm and ranch north of Olney Springs, Colorado. At five years old, he began milking cows and taking on responsibilities of helping make the living.
Wayne bought a guitar and would play with local bands at community dances. He continued to play for his family through the years.
He went through the eighth grade at Antelope Mesa School. Walking was the only way he and his brothers and sisters made the three-mile trek every day. Since they had no high school, Wayne started a long life of working. He helped on the family place until he was 15 years old, when he started out on his own by traveling the Northwestern United States. He worked ranch work, picked fresh fruit and did odd jobs to get enough money to move on.
When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, he soon enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a proud member of the 1st Cavalry. He was sent to the Pacific Theater.
In the dark early morning hours, "A" Troop was subjected to a heavy mortar barrage followed by a fierce counterattacks from the enemy. Two men who were largely responsible for breaking up this attack and defeating the enemy (approximately 500) were Pvt. Charles W. Walker and Dimmit White. As the enemy approached the positions which had been seized by the cavalrymen only a few hours before, these two soldiers held their ground and fired their weapons (BARS) with such effectiveness that the assault was broken and turned into a disastrous defeat. Their courage and devotion to duty were recognized by the award of Silver Stars. (Taken from the 1st Cavalry Division in World War II Book.)
When General Douglas McArthur said, "I shall return," Wayne was with him. The day McArthur signed the Surrender Treaty, he was on a boat watching him sign it through binoculars.
After the treaty was signed, men were assigned to guard Hirohito from dying by suicide or being killed. Wayne was one of these men chosen to guard the Emperor of Japan.
When he returned to the United States, Wayne was asked to stay in the Army. He declined and came home to Colorado. On June 16, 1947, he married the sweetheart of his life, Rachel Stroud. They moved into the house on the farm and lived there 71 years together.
Wayne farmed and ranched through the years. He also had a land-leveling and custom-plowing business. He was the first farmer in Southeastern Colorado to try out a John Deere propane Tractor and has owned one ever since. He retired from his agriculture career when he was 88 years old and was the last living farmer in the No. 6 Community from his generation.
He also worked at the strip gold mines in Colorado and Nevada for a few years, but he returned to his farm. He served on the West Otero Soil Conservation District Board for several years and was a member of the No. 6 School Board. After the school was consolidated into Fowler School district, he was asked to serve on the Fowler Board.
He was the only living member of the Fowler School Board that spent countless hours to bring a new high school building to the community for the students. At this time he was the treasurer and he signed the check for one and a half million dollars to pay for the new high school. He said that it was probably the biggest check he would ever sign. This was a very special project for him since he never got to attend high school.
For over 70 years, he was a member of the First Baptist Church of Fowler. Wayne was the last living Ordained Deacon.
Wayne loved to hunt, fish and hike, especially in the mountains. He listened to the New York Yankees on the radio when he was growing up and enjoyed watching them on TV in his later years. In 2007, Wayne and Rachel watched them in person when they played the Colorado Rockies in Denver.
After Rachel passed away last August, Wayne continued to live in his home with the help of his daughter, Pat, and his caregivers, Heather Harris and Rachel Aragon.
He broke his hip in February and had been living at the Fowler Health Care Center.
He is survived by his children, Patricia Perue of Fowler, Nancy (Don) Bressan of Walsenburg, and Edward Walker of Pueblo; granddaughters, Tracy (Chris) Evans of Elizabeth, Colorado, Kim Bressan of San Diego, California, Brenda Bressan of Germany, Brian (Meredith) Bressan of Brevard, North Carolina, Abbie (Doug) Ertz of Elizabeth, Colorado, Terrie (Jake) Leonard of Arlington, Colorado; great-grandchildren, Conner and Mason Evans, Levi Bressan, Silas Bressan, Justin Jasmin, Hannah Ertz, Landon and Denny Leonard; sisters, Letha Mae Goff and Mary Beth McCuistion; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and his caregivers, Heather, Rachel and Ashley also survive.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Rachel C. Walker on August 3, 2018; brothers, Harold, Merle “Bud” and Orville Walker; son-in-law, Larry Perue; nephew, Terry Stroud; brothers-in-law, J.H. McCuistion, David Goss, Lee Stroud; sisters-in-law, Gladys Walker, Hilda Walker, Ruth Walker and Delores Stroud; in-laws, Isom and Faye Stroud.
Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 13, 2019, at the United Methodist Church of Fowler with Pastor Phil Gibson officiating.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may make memorial contributions to the United Methodist Church of Fowler, 302 S. Main Street, Fowler, CO 81039, direct or through the funeral home.
Online condolences may be made at www.peacockFH.com. Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory is in charge of arrangements.