In the community

Obituary from the Enterprise for the week of August 30, 2023: Jack Walker

Jack Archie Walker

May 11, 1931 – July 23, 2023

Jack A. Walker of Big Creek/ Yellow Pine, Idaho and Vale, Oregon passed away on July 23, 2023, in Vale, Oregon. He was born May 11, 1931, in Newberg, Oregon, in the Willamette Valley north of Salem. His parents were Jack Walker and Doris Parrott Walker. The Walker family immigrated to Oregon from Missouri in the mid-to-late 19th century traveling over the Oregon Trail. His father was a commercial fisherman; captain of the Sea Lion III, operating out of Newport, Oregon. He also managed a service station and was a realtor. The elder Walker, diagnosed with tuberculosis, moved the family to Big Creek after World War II when Jack was about 16 years old. His father worked in Big Creek area and with his mother, later relocated to Dallas, Oregon. 

Jack worked at Stibnite and at various mining related jobs in Big Creek. One was driving the Potter adit on Logan Creek. In 1949, He and Sally acquired the Tony Ludwig Cabin on Logan Creek, which remained their Big Creek home the rest of their lives. He volunteered for the Army at the outbreak of the Korean War and served in Korea. Returning from Korea, he married Everal (Sally) Foster in July of 1953. Sally lived on a ranch out of Vale near the Bully Creek Reservoir with her parents, two brothers, and three sisters.

 Jack and Sally honeymooned by taking a job with the Forest Service by packing in and manning the Lookout Mountain fire tower located in the Sawtooth Mountains. They were able to winter in a Forest Service cabin in Big Creek. Their daughter Ruth was born in Dallas, Oregon, in 1954. Jack and Sally and their infant daughter returned to Big Creek where Jack worked at the McRae Tungsten Mine for the 1955 season and over the next winter into 1956.

In the late 1950s, Jack worked at salvaging and moving the houses at Stibnite to Yellow Pine and other locations. After which Jack started contracting by doing land leveling and other earth moving work in Oregon during the winter months, engaging a long-term employee, Albert Coleman. Jack would return to Big Creek in the summer season to do mining contracting. Their son, Jack Albert Walker was born in Dallas, Oregon in 1957. Sally was engaged by a service station bulk oil company in Vale as a bookkeeper. The tempo of winter work in Vale and summer work in Big Creek would continue under the Walker Mining Company as Jack began to establish and work mining claims in the Big Creek and surrounding area. He purchased the Werdenhoff Mill and associated buildings and equipment located on the north fork of Smith Creek from the Werdenhoff Mining Company in 1966. In 1978, American Independence Mines & Mineral (AIMMCO) was established as a joint venture between Walker Mining Company and Ivy Minerals Inc. to initially develop the Fourth of July vein on Government Creek, discovered by Jack in 1971.

Subsequently other properties in the Big Creek Area were explored and developed in a challenging access and stifling permitting environment. Winters were spent prospecting in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Jack accumulated some 10,000 hours in backcountry flying in his Cessna 180. 

Sally passed away in Big Creek in 1994. Jack decided to retire in December 2012 resulting in Ivy Minerals Inc acquiring Walker Mining Company’s interest in American Independence Mines & Minerals Company and a substantial portion of the equipment of Walker Mining Company. In retirement, Jack continued his love of flying by purchasing a surplus Czech jet military trainer and flying it well into his mid-80s. 

Jack was predeceased by his wife, Sally of 41 years, and is survived by his daughter Ruth Walker Strode and his son-in-law Robert Strode of Vale, Oregon and his son, Jack Albert Walker, daughter-in-law Diane Nelson Walker, granddaughter Megan Walker, grandson Eric Walker of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Interment will be private.

Those wishing to extend condolences to Jack’s family may do so by using the address P.O. Box 426, Vale, OR 97918.

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