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Donald Arthur (Big Duff) Walker

Posted 2018-05-16 by Pat R
Wickenburg Sun (Wickenburg, Arizona)
Wednesday, January 31, 2018, p. A-5

Donald Arthur (Big Duff) Walker, age 71, passed away on Jan. 16, 2018, in Surprise. Duffy was born June 4, 1946, in Spokane, Wash. His parents were Joseph and Grace Walker. He was raised in Sandpoint, Idaho where his family owned and operated the Kaniksu Motel, Bar and Restaurant.

He lived a lifetime of hard work topped with adventure and fun. He was a big man with a big story; he was legendary! Everyone knew of Big Duff! He was either loved or hated, there was no in between. He voiced his opinion, thrived on conflict, and was often caught fanning the fire in a conversation.

As a teenager he worked for Morris Knudsen Construction Co. and attended Sandpoint High School where he played football for SHS in mid 60's.

He served in the U.S. Army from March 1966 to December 1968 spending two terms in Vietnam. When he returned, he worked on the Libby Dam, served and protected his community as Volunteer Fireman and later spent a short time as a Sandpoint Policeman. All the while, he enjoyed fast cars and motorcycles, and owned a speedy Plymouth Cornet RT. In fact, it was the fastest car in town, proven at every street drag. In the 60's and 70's, a little jail time was common for drag shenanigans and street parties. During one of his stays, the Police decided to recruit him, thinking he would be obliged to curb the town's street racing. His police career was short lived, because his love was the race. He was fired from the PD for racing his car.

He met Karen Bailey on New Year's Eve of 1968, and after some convincing they were married on Oct. 21, 1972. Together they built a hobby farm in the Hidden Valley of Sandpoint, where they gardened, farmed, and raised beef and hogs to provide for their three children. This farm helped teach his children work ethic. His shop was filled with old cars ('41 Willies pick up), motorcycles & snowmobiles, coke cola, and sweet cigars.

Most people recall his ability to sell! He worked in beer distributing and beverage sales with several familiar names; Bill Jones, Mel Madsen, and Frank's Distributing.

He made many friends on his beer routes, and of course, it was just another driving challenge. He was an excellent driver. (not according to his wife) He was often top salesman of the year, receiving many awards, original signage, and vacation trips to benefit his family. He was truly good at what he did. An icon for the younger generation.

He was a weekend warrior, trying to work extra hours and spend time with the family. He enjoyed snowmobiling and pulled on a tug-a-war team (1st place) but his passion continued for fast cars. He and Karen found friends with the same interest of classic cars. They rode around in style in a '70 Stingray Corvette, traveling (racing) to Ainsworth and Fairmont Hot Springs, or any other weekend trip. He took the kids to drag races and many auto boat speed shows.

As the grandchildren grew, new adventures of elk hunting trips in Southern Idaho provided many years of dangerous 4-wheel excursions and wonderful family memories. (There is always a story to tell, when Duff is around.)

In another stage in his life, he and Karen owned and operated Duffy's Saloon in Colburn. You could find the best chicken in town, the coldest beer, volleyball games, even a few wrestling matches, but most patrons were there for the stories and comradery. He was still a salesman. He could convince anyone to stay a little longer, and have just one more.

After the bar closed, Duff and Karen lived in Sandpoint, Idaho during the summer and in the winter months they traveled to Wickenburg, to warmer climate. His excitement lived on as he developed a love for 4-wheeling in the desert; steep, deep or fast.

He is preceded in death by parents Joseph and Grace Walker; sister Kay McGhee; brother-in-law Donald Baker; and nephew Joseph Powers.

He is survived by his brother Rod (Therese) Walker and sisters, Linda (Gary) Riffle, JoEllen Baker, Teri (Jerry) Pierce. He has many nieces and nephews and several cousins, aunts and uncles from his biological family. A few just couldn't stay away which he thoroughly enjoyed.

In his closest pack, he leaves behind wife Karen and three children Krystal (Angus) Travers, Duffy Walker (Donna Scott), Laura (Patrick) Alamillo. They blessed him with several grandchildren Colton, Joshua, Bettilynn and Clara Travers, Alicia and Cody Walker, and Nikole and Zackary Alamillo. He also has a great-granddaughter, Duffi Travers, and a great-grandson, soon to arrive, Wiley Travers.

He will enjoy a few more rides. There will be a desert ride with his Arizona friends and a ride back to Sandpoint, Idaho, to rest with family. There will be a 21 Gun Salute at the Pack River Cemetery and a celebration of life at his residence when they return to his home town this summer.

Friends may offer online condolences at www.wickenburgfuneralhome.com

Arrangements are under the direction of Wickenburg Funeral Home & Crematory.



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