Bob and Helen Walker celebrate 70 years of marriage
June 29, 2011
Robert Lewis Walker (91 years old) and Helen Jane Zick (94 years old) met in Grand Lake, Colo., in 1938, the summer before he started his freshman year at Colorado College. He was working as a counselor at Camp Chief Ouray and she was working at Humphrey’s, her Aunt’s general store in Grand Lake.
They were at a dance at the Pine Cone Inn and Bob asked Helen for a dance. She told him he could have the third dance. Bob was so insulted, he left the dance. That fall, they were in school at Colorado College together. She was a beautiful, intelligent, blonde-haired, blue-eyed senior in Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. He was in Phi Gamma Delta fraternity as a pledge.
Bob asked Helen to the Pledge Dance. She accepted. Helen was dating two other boys at the time, so the date didn’t leave much of an impression. Bob was surprised. He was on a full-ride scholarship for football and a very handsome star quarterback. He had been a state champion in high school with the Grand Junction Tigers. Finally, in the Spring of 1939, there was a Kappa dance and a Phi Gam dance on the same night They agreed to attend both together. Bob pulled up in a beautiful sports car lent to him by the fraternity president since Bob didn’t have a car of his own. This time, they fell for each other. He left school after Helen graduated valedictorian.
They were married in Laguna Beach, Calif., that summer and Bob went to work for Douglas Aircraft where he learned a tremendous amount about business. They had five children. Bob was drafted by the Air Force in 1944 for a year. When he was released from duty, he went to work for Magic Seal Packaging, a paper manufacturing company in Columbus, Ohio He bought the company several years later. They raised all five kids in Ohio but spent their summers back in Grand Lake where Helen’s father was the Mayor, owned the grocery, hotel, and stables.
Helen is the oldest living relation to Jackson Pollock, the modern artist. They were cousins. Interestingly, three of Helen and Bob’s children had occupations as artists.
They have nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one more due the day of their 70th wedding anniversary. Bob retired over 20 years ago and they moved to Boca Raton, Fla. They frequently have family gatherings with all of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
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They are in excellent health and other than Helen’s macular degeneration, which limits her ability to see, they play golf, cards, enjoy gardening, and spending time with friends.
It is quite unusual to meet such an engaging energetic, and genuinely happy couple. To think that they not only are a pleasure to know, but having been this way for 70 years together is truly remarkable. They are the epitome of what we are all looking for as we age: grace, lots of laughter, and amazing memories.
They will spend their June 30 anniversary by themselves at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, where Bob gave his fraternity pin to Helen. It was the most romantic way Bob could think of to celebrate their long lives together. Hopefully, they will get to dance that night and this time, he gets to have the first dance.
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