Don is missed by many. In this space, his family, friends and colleagues reflect on their favorite memories.
This photo was taken on the afternoon of March 30, 1995, the last day of publication of The Milwaukee Journal.
From Michael Juley, a longtime Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editor:
Top 10 reasons why I’m really, really going to miss Don Walker
10. He could spend the afternoon interviewing billionaires or covering the president of the United States, and then that night sit next to you on a barstool.
9. He had a difficult time editing his jokes, but he could edit the hell out of any story.
8. You could trust his news judgment, and you also could trust that he would gracefully catch every softball hit in his general direction in left field.
7. He could jump through all sorts of newsroom hoops during the day, and then be the hoops star every Friday night on the basketball court.
6. He felt comfortable in any environment, be it a tony lake mansion, a troubled central city home or at the Avalanche Bar.
5. He enjoyed a wide range of music, from AC/DC and Dylan to Mountain and the Replacements, and he enjoyed hockey, from the Detroit Red Wings to the Milwaukee Admirals.
4. He could kick your butt in a five-mile run, and then discuss it afterward while proudly gripping a PBR.
3. He could write about the business of the Milwaukee Brewers, and then go to a baseball game that night and intelligently second-guess every move the manager would make.
2. He had rhythm, enough to play drums in a newsroom band and enough to sense the right pace in a panicked newsroom.
1. Above all, he loved his wife and children, was proud of what his sons accomplished and made sure they had a loving home.
Have memories and photos you want to share? Leave a note in the comments or send an email.
2 thoughts on “Share Your Memories”
Where to begin ….
I go back with Don (Doak) … way back.
We began as running mates back at Holy Name Grade School in the 7th and 8th grade. I always said I got into some trouble back then not a lot but some … BUT any time I did it was with Don and more often than not ring led by Don.
At Brother Rice High we quite literally became running mates … members of both the Cross Country and Track and Field teams for 4 years. Doaker almost always kicked my ass as I reminded him (he didn’t need reminding!) just last year when he came for a visit. The only time I could beat him was when he was ailing … and as brother Joe endearingly reminded us at Don’s funeral Don did speak of his “ailments” from time to time.
We then went on to MU together … were room mates all 4 years … first at Schroeder Hall then in the storied Strack Apartment building on 13th and Kilbourn rooming with buddies Tim Hagan and Dennis Supanich.
We were all together meeting Sue and her sisters and when Don began dating Sue. Best damn decision he ever made … finding, keeping and marrying Sue. I married my love Leslie Armstrong who Don and I first became friends with in 1972.
My 4 brothers were my wedding party; Will O’Sullivan, Steve O’Sullivan, Dan O’Sullivan and Don Walker.
Leslie and moved out to the central coast of CA immediately raised a family and I have enjoyed 39 in public education. Don of course began his prolific career in journalism and raising his family. Doak and I kept in touch. Not enough.
I was thankful that I did get to see Doak when he took the time tho travel down from Sacramento just last year when he was writing the MU Law School/Journal arena story. It was a great visit and we laughed that we would soon be retiring the same year and looked forward to spending a lot of time together.
On that visit late one night we were having beers in my living room and one of my daughters was in. Later Kati remarked “…good Lord Dad you guys were finishing each others’ sentences all night long”. Well I guess we were and I guess after having Don in my life for 50 years part of him is with me always … and always will be. I miss him.
I am so grateful to all of you who set up Don’s Memorial Scholarship … a fitting tribute to a good man.
We will not only contribute but would like to become active in any additional way in this noble project.
Leslie and I send our love to Sue, Tim and Peter.
On Don’s funeral Mass card we are reminded to heed the words of Pope Francis to work for dignity and to be playful. This is so fitting. Don indeed was a serious journalist who cared passionately about fairness and truth.
But he was also hysterical.
He loved to laugh. When I think of him, I think of how he would double over in laughter at some goofy story. It didn’t take much.
One of his favorite jokes was the Woody Allen one about the guy who thought he was a chicken. When the psychiatrist told him to take a pill that could cure him, the man declined.
“I would,” the man said, “but I need the eggs,”