Dr Ronald Walker, 1937–2017

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 9, November 2017, Page 468 Obituaries

Dr Ronald Walker (Ron) was born in Quebec but told everyone he left at 6 weeks of age because he didn’t speak French.

Dr Ronald Walker (Ron) was born in Quebec but told everyone he left at 6 weeks of age because he didn’t speak French.

Ron’s father was in the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. The family was transferred to Kingston, Ontario, and Ron’s father went to war for 7 long years. At age 11, when the family was living in Calgary, Ron joined the Navy Cadets. In 1954 he joined the first class of HMCS Venture at Esquimalt, BC. His dream at that time was to be a jet pilot, and after graduating from Venture, Ron was posted to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training, but he suffered a broken ankle, and on his physical exam, his eyesight didn’t meet the necessary criteria. After trying the navy’s supply branch for about 5 years, Ron found it was not for him. His last ship was the HMCS Cape Breton.

Ron enrolled in the University of Victoria, and the Royal Canadian Navy found summer jobs for him. In 1964, Ron was given sole custody of his two children, Stephen (8 months) and Debrah (3 years).

He applied to UBC med school in 1966. The navy told him that they would find scholarships and bursaries for the first year if he joined the Medical Officers Training Program and served 3 years after completing his medical studies. He did so, and after graduating he interned at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario, and then was transferred to Ottawa to work at the Health Department. While in the nation’s capital, Ron and three other navy doctors started the first walk-in clinic in Canada.

After his stint in Ottawa, Ron was transferred to the army base in Chilliwack, BC, where he was appointed as the base surgeon and ran his own hospital. After 2 years the navy asked Ron to become a specialist, but as he wanted to become a family practitioner, he retired from the navy after 22 years of service.

Ron set up in North Vancouver where he practised for 22 years. He then took a position in Nanaimo at the Caledonian Medical Clinic, which he enjoyed being a part of for 3 years before hanging up his stethoscope.

Ron loved being on his sailboat, a 27-foot C&C yacht called Sundance. Desolation Sound was a favored destination, as well as the southern Gulf Islands. I (his wife) did all the motorhome driving, and we enjoyed RV-ing adventures and set up a chapter of Good Sam called the Nanaimo Bars, which camps as a group once a month. We traveled to California and Arizona each winter to escape the “Wet Coast” for the blue skies of the desert; we also ventured to Cambodia, Singapore, and Australia (where we married). A 5-week adventure tour of the national parks in India saw us riding in jeeps, buses, airplanes, and on elephants.

Ron succumbed to the dreadful disease of ALS on 18 July 2017, 1 month after his 80th birthday. He had a huge party on his birthday, and Stephen, Ron’s son, came from Brisbane to celebrate the occasion.

Ron is predeceased by his parents, Fred and Lucy Walker; his sister, Joy Conroy; and his lovely daughter, Debrah Rafel. He is survived by me (Carol), and he’d often call me “his treasure”; and by his son, Stephen (Frances), and his granddaughters, Sasha and Talia, of Australia. Ron and I were “adopted” by a wonderful family in Nanaimo, which included Heather King and her very loving twins, Hollister (following in his grandfather’s footsteps with the navy) and Charolette, now both at university. Ron’s son-in-law, Don Osborn (Debrah’s widower), and his 10-year-old twins, Ava and Marlow, now live in Nebraska.
—Carol Stewart Walker

Carol Stewart Walker. Dr Ronald Walker, 1937–2017. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 9, November, 2017, Page(s) 468 - Obituaries.

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