Oct. 20, 1975-April 10, 2013 GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Zachariah Lawrence Walker died Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at age 37. He left us the way he lived: gently and peacefully, surrounded by love. Though Z’s life was cut short by the complexities of leukemia and Crohn’s disease, he lived deeply and joyfully. A lifetime of health challenges did not diminish his spirit and zest for life. He was a teacher, adventurer, traveler, writer, poet, DJ, yogi, healer, mystic and mentor.
Born Oct. 20, 1975, in Missoula, Zack completed his primary and secondary education, graduating from Hellgate High School in 1994. He attended the University of Montana, and – interspersing his classroom experience with periods of work, travel and livin’ life – he completed a degree in education. Several years later he became a certified yoga instructor and healing arts practitioner.
Despite childhood diagnoses of ulcerative colitis and a red blood cell disorder, followed by numerous surgeries and hospitalizations, Zachariah always emerged determined to get back into the sunshine and on the trail to pursue his next adventure. He was an avid backpacker, mountain biker, whitewater rafter and sun worshipper. In his early 20s he worked in Antarctica and backpacked throughout New Zealand. Several years later he undertook a two-month solo tour of southern Europe. At that time he started a blog and resumed it in 2012 to share his final challenge during the past year.
Zachariah devoted his professional life to service. He worked for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps and taught children’s ski lessons at Stowe; he was a classroom teacher of math, science, social studies and outdoor education in Delta and Grand Junction schools for several years; he was a community organizer for the Colorado Environmental Coalition; he taught yoga and wellness at Yoga West Collective and Crossroads Fitness Center; he sponsored an inspirational film series at Yoga West; and he volunteered with KAFM community radio of Grand Junction.
For more than 20 years Zachariah was actively involved with The Youth Rally, an annual camp for youth ages 11-17 with bowel and bladder dysfunction. He served as a counselor, adviser, inspirational speaker and mentor to young adults with ostomies and autoimmune diagnoses.
Zachariah is survived by his beloved Larkin Beaman of Grand Junction; his parents, Annette and John Walker of Missoula; his sister Loralei Walker (Bridget Korman) of Olympia, Wash.; grandfather Lawrence Walker of Meredith, N.H., as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, a vast community of friends and loved ones, and his dog, Beacon.
A private service was held April 12 at the Hospice Care Center in Grand Junction. Two celebrations of Zachariah’s life are planned: in Grand Junction on May 18 and in Missoula on June 15. Details will follow. Zachariah’s ashes will be scattered in the mountains of Montana and Colorado.
The family suggests memorial donations to The Youth Rally by visiting www.rally4youth.org, click Donate Now, under Program select “Camper Registration Fee,” in memory of Zachariah Walker; or to Hospice of Western Colorado, 3090 N. 12th St., Grand Junction, CO 81506 or visit www.hospicewco.com and select “Give a Gift.”