Lyle Emery Walker, son of John Emery, son of John Albert (Al,) son of William Leonard Walker.
Lyle Emery Walker, Bath, SD, left this world after a long struggle with heart disease and ultimately congestive heart failure on May 28, 2019, in Rapid City, SD where he was visiting family. He was three months short of his 89th birthday.
Mass of Christian burial will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, June 3, 2019, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 409 3rd Avenue SE, Aberdeen, with Father Patrick Grode as celebrant. Burial will take place at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Aberdeen. Visitation will 4-6 p.m., Sunday, at Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5thAvenue NW, Aberdeen, with a liturgical wake service beginning at 6 p.m. Visitation continues one hour prior to Mass at the church on Monday. Family and friends may sign Lyle’s online guestbook and also view his service via the live stream service link at www.schriversmemorial.com.
Our dad, Lyle, was born August 17, 1930, to John Emery and Mabel Hilda (Milbrandt) Walker in Aberdeen, SD and was the eldest of six other siblings, Wayne, Marlyne (Roger) Metzinger, Joyce (Donna Stengel), John (Bonnie) Walker, and the twins, Kenny (Jo) Walker and Karen Buss. Lyle was raised in, and on a farm near, Westport and in Aberdeen. He attended school in Westport, St. Mary's School, Sacred Heart School and Central High School in Aberdeen through the ninth grade, when he quit school in order to help his folks continue farming.
Lyle was employed by the Brown County Highway Department from October 1949 until 1980, when he suffered a major heart attack and was admitted to intensive care. Did we mention that, in some ways, dad was lucky and blessed? He also survived a subsequent stroke in 1982, from which, other than tunnel vision, he fully recovered. Dad was resilient (or, for those of us who knew him best, may we respectfully say, a little stubborn). Life changed for the better for him and his family in 1994 after doctors finally agreed to perform bypass surgery. After 14 years, he was a new man, with a new lease on life.
During his adult life, honing skills for the Brown County Highway Department for 30-plus years, Lyle's tools of the trade were trucks, graders, crawlers, loaders, mowers and scrapers. Reportedly, Lyle was eager for the chance to learn every new skill presented to him. He eventually became road foreman and then general foreman until the deterioration of his health forced his retirement in 1980. Along with his full-time job at the Brown County Highway Department, Dad had other jobs on the side to help support the family, including driving cab at night and installing furnaces on the weekends. Thinking back, is it any wonder he had a heart attack at age 50?
We have it on good account that Lyle met Rosemary Huettl, two years his junior, very early in life, when after some horseplay on the Huettl family farm, he threw her into the slop pail. That was obviously the basis for a life-long relationship. Mom and Dad would not marry until some years later - July 19, 1949 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Westport. According to the consensus this missive’s authors, they were “blessed” with six children (although we’re sure “blessed” was not the only term Mom and Dad ever used). First, three daughters: Diane (Les) Munger, Rapid City, SD; Linda (Vic) Mitzel, Watertown, SD; Nyla (Tim) Gooding, Rapid City, SD. Then three sons: James Walker (Jerry Oligmueller), Bath/Redfield, SD; Jerry (Lisa) Walker and Joel (Sherri) Walker, Duluth, MN. Lyle was present at the hospital for each of his children’s birth, except for Jim, who prolonged Rosemary's labor so long that Dad had to run home to milk the old Guernsey cow. After having three daughters, Lyle was reportedly skeptical to finally have a son, so two others followed just for good measure. After that came 12 grandchildren: Tammy Johnson, Tonya (Troy) Lindgren, Amanda (Billy) DeVries, Jason (Alizzy) Gooding, Charles (Wendy) Gooding, Sara Gooding, as well as Marcus and Kristi Walker, Kassady (Wesley) Kunst, Jacob (Molly) Walker, Jamie and Jodi Walker; 17 great grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren. Dad would be the first to admit that even though he loved each of them dearly, there were times each of their names would escape him, hence his proclivity for using endearing terms like “punky,” “snicklefritz” and “the bunk.” Dad’s life was certainly sustained by the love of his extended family.
Dad is now reunited with the love of his life, our dear mother Rosemary. It seemed strange: Mom took care of Dad for so many years with his many health issues, but Dad would ultimately be her caregiver in her final years. After a long, challenging bout with dementia and suffering a brain aneurysm, she was ultimately taken from us on October 15, 2003, at the age of 71.
Dad's earlier life and faith was shaped by the suffering of his parents, as they both were taken too early in life by cancer - our grandpa, Emery, at age 63, in 1971; and our grandma, Mabel, 65, in 1974. Dad also lost his brother, Wayne, suddenly in 1993, age 59.
Lyle was a life-long member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, either in Westport or Aberdeen. Dad prayed and read daily, once he had time in his later years. When he was able, he was an avid volunteer for the Aberdeen Community Theatre (ACT) and a member until his death - supporting his son’s vocation, as he did for all his children. Jim was around to ask for Dad’s help often, having shared a home with Lyle and Rosemary for all but two years of his life.
Dad’s request is to have memorials to go to ACT. Unless otherwise requested, all memorials will become part of ACT’s Memorial Endowment for the long-term support of theater arts at the Capitol Theatre under Lyle and Rosemary Walker’s names.
Dad would want us to thank everyone for their support, thoughts and prayers, now and over the years. And we always did what dad wanted - at least most of the time. And so, thank you all.
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Aberdeen Community Theatre
417 South Main St - PO Box 813, Aberdeen SD 57402-0813