Anthony “Tony” Walker was an avid prankster, raconteur, restaurant owner, RV adventurer and a devoted family man. He was also a well-known figure in Turlock, where he created the Wellington Station restaurant after having served five years as spokesman for Turlock Irrigation District.
Mr. Walker died on Sunday, April 15 at age 73. On that day, according to his obituary, "he told his last inappropriate joke ... which cannot be printed here."
Walker was known for telling jokes and pulling pranks and he enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to travel with his family on RV trips spanning the United States and Canada and made friends wherever he went, according to his obituary.
Walker spent 17 years as spokesman for TID. During that time, in 1999 he actually found his calling as a restaurateur.
Walker tried to recreate an English pub in downtown Turlock by renovating the former Traxx restaurant -- hard against the Union Pacific rails downtown -- into Wellington Station. When he grew tired of that persona, he renovated again and turned it into 10 East Kitchen and Tap House.
A Stockton native, Walker was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery in Vietnam, then came home to earn a degree in journalism at Sacramento State. He started his reporting career at the Manteca Bulletin, where former news editor Glenn Kahl remembered him as “the best reporter I ever hired or have ever known.”
He left Manteca to join the The Modesto Bee in 1973, where he remained until 1994. At The Bee, he bylined more than 3,000 stories on topics from ag to business to crime to water. His first byline was on a story about Turlock police buying movie cameras in 1973 to create recruiting and training videos.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Dorothy; daughters Jennifer Hanshew (Craig) and Joanna Striplin (Titus); son Derek Walker; brothers Greg Walker and Gary Walker and grandchildren Elijah, Evan and Annika.
Services will be at All Saints University Parish in Turlock on Monday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. Reception and celebration of life will be at the Denair Community Center. Memorial donations can be made to Community Hospice (hospiceheart.org) in Tony’s name.