Hundreds celebrate Walker’s life at Avon memorial |

Hundreds celebrate Walker’s life at Avon memorial

CVR Walker memorial KA 3-23-11

AVON, Colorado – On Wednesday, Todd Walker’s smile stretched from the Vail Valley to Durham, N.H.

Family and friends celebrated Walker’s life in his native Vail Valley, and on the University of New Hampshire campus, where Walker played football.

A couple time zones weren’t enough to separate the two groups. A few UNH Wildcat teammates made the trip to Colorado. About 10 will make the trip to Chicago, where Walker did a post-graduate year at Lake Forest Academy.

How far would you go for a friend?

Walker was a redshirt freshman on the Wildcats football team. No. 80 in your program, No. 1 in your heart.

“A really good heart stopped beating the other day,” said UNH senior wide receiver Chris Chandler, who was at the memorial in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

Not that many people live in Eagle County, and it seemed like most of them were at Wednesday’s celebration of Todd’s life, waiting patiently in line to greet the Walker family.

Before people reached Walker’s parents, Todd reached them and left them smiling, again.

At the door was a huge photo of Walker in tight Daisy Duke shorts and a sleeveless shirt, on skis, bent over deeply with his back and butt to the camera, his butt sticking up in the air and his ski poles poking out like turkey wings. It was hilarious. It was perfect.

The caption under the picture read: “No tears beyond this point.” People were ready for a laugh and Todd Walker gave them one.

“It’s just so … so Todd!” said one young woman.

There was no one sitting around, no formal service, no speaker, no choir. Instead, the chorus was hundreds of people enjoying each other’s company on a warm, sparkling Colorado afternoon.

“Our whole neighborhood is here, and most of us don’t even live here any more,” said Suzi Ballard. Her family lived next door to the Walkers. Todd taught her kid to ride a bike.

Bob Daino and Tommy King coached Battle Mountain’s fledgling lacrosse club. With Walker and the rest of that class, they grew it into a full-fledged varsity sport.

“I wish I had 20 more like him,” Daino said. “He was so much fun and such a great kid.”

Battle Mountain soccer coach Dave Cope had Todd on his teams. He fondly remembers Stephany’s kid brother hanging around his older sister’s teams.

“He was the kid who’d strip to the waist in the snow and paint BMHS on his chest,” Cope said smiling.

University of New Hampshire head football coach Sean McDonnell, who was at the New Hampshire memorial Wednesday, says he recalls Walker’s drive, his red hair and that million-watt smile.

The Wildcats plan to place a plaque outside their stadium, and might plant a commemorative tree or something in Walker’s honor.

During a team meeting Sunday night to talk about what had happened to their teammate, one of Walker’s teammates asked McDonnell, “Coach, can we get something that blossoms red?”

Todd is survived by his mother and father, Mark and Pam Walker; an older sister Stephany, who also graduated from Battle Mountain High School; and friends from coast to coast.

Walker was a 4.0 student, the starting quarterback on the Battle Mountain football team, a track star on the Huskies regional championship team, a hockey star and a lacrosse star.

He helped lead the Huskies to back-to-back conference hockey championships in 2005 and 2006, and played on Battle Mountain’s 2008 club team.

He was named the Rocky Mountain News Class 3A top specialist in 2006.

Todd Walker was born May, 1, 1990. He was 20 years old when he was killed early Friday morning stopping a robbery in Boulder, saving a young woman’s life.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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