John “Johnnie” M. Walker went home to be with Jesus and friends and family Sunday morning, March 15, 2009.
Johnnie’s life began in Little Rock, Ark., on July 14, 1922.
He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 and was commissioned to the Philippine Islands before the war began. On Dec. 7, 1941, Johnnie was fighting the Japanese on the island where he was captured and made prisoner, surviving the 65-mile, five-day brutal Bataan Death March and becoming a slave laborer in the zinc and lead mines for the Japanese until the end of the war.
Returning to the United States, Johnnie met Carolyn Hardeman and they celebrated 62 years of marriage on Feb. 14, 2009. They lived fully, with six children, 15 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, traveled to Japan four times to help build churches with Youth With A Mission Impact Teams. Upon retirement due to a heart attack, Johnnie and Carolyn pursued the life of travel to see friends and family and settled in Pagosa Springs, where they have lived for the past 21 years.
Over the years, Johnnie received many service medals including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart where the people of the Town of Pagosa Springs were able to share in these presentations and honor him by representing him on the Las Cruces reenactment of the Bataan Death March.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; children — Joyce Fletcher, John Mark Walker, Rebecca Hayes, Jean Hardy and Joan Curtis, along with the many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews.
God’s calling on Johnnie’s life was to share the teaching of love and forgiveness and Johnnie’s goal was met Sunday morning as he joined his son, Johnnie Marvin, and multitudes of family and friends who are rejoicing in his home going.
A memorial fund is set up at First Southwest Bank to further the work Johnnie so loved in Japan. If you wish to donate, please do so in lieu of flowers.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday, March 20, 2008, at the Restoration Fellowship Church in Pagosa Springs, with Rev. Alan DeBoer and Rev. Kenneth Wold officiating.
Burial will follow at the Hilltop Cemetery with full military honors by American Legion Post 108.
Know God, love others, forgive as Jesus did.