Gene Lester Walker


Gene Lester Walker

Ragan, Harlan County, Nebraska, USA
Death 23 Feb 1934 (aged 39)
Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Burial Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming, USA
Plot WATAHA_10_4_1
Memorial ID 74198677 View Source
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Utah Death Certificate

Rock Springs Rocket, Feb 28, 1934
Funeral Services Today For G.L. Walker, Crash Victim
Killed Friday When Huge Boeing Plane Wrecks on Mountain Side Soon After Leaving Salt Lake Port

Funeral services for the remains of Gene L. Walker, Rock Springs business man, killed Friday afternoon with seven others when a United Air Lines plane crashed near Parley’s canyon summit, 20 miles east of Salt Lake City, will be conducted at 2:30 o’clock this afternoon at the family home, 711 C street.

Rock Springs lodge, B.P.O. Elks, of which deceased was a member, will perform funeral rites of the order at the home. Rev. Hubert Webster of the Methodist church will be the officiating minister. At the graveside in Mountain View cemetery members of Archie Hay post, the American Legion, with color guard and firing squad, will pay their last respects to a departed comrade of the World war. Funeral arrangements are being directed by the Wildermuth mortuary.

Pallbearers will be A.L. McCurtain, Earl Lawless, Walter Larsen, Louis Nelson, James Vicars and Andy Angelovic.

Walker is survived by his wife, nee Josephine Crippa, and their seven-year-old daughter, Velma Jean; by his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. R.T Walker; two sisters, Mrs. Ollie Slaughter and Miss Bonny Walker, and one brother, Guy S. Walker, all of Rocky Ford, Colo. All will be present at the funeral services.

Pioneer In Auto Business

Gene Lester Walker, who was 39 years of age at the time of his death was born at Regan, Nebr. He removed to Rocky Ford with his parents and in 1914 came to Rock Springs where he opened the first tire and battery service in this city in the building now occupied by the Rock Springs Electric company. For the past four years he had conducted the firm of G.L. Walker, Inc., Ford distributors, and prior to that was associated in business with James Vicars.

He was a successful business man and contributed much to the progress of this community. His friends, who were many, describe him as an honest man with keen foresight and who followed the motto of fairness in all his transactions.

Plane Crashed 2:26 p.m. Friday

The tragedy that claimed Walker’s life took place, as near as can be estimated by airline officials, at 2:26 p.m. Friday, a few minutes after the ill-fated Boeing plane took off from the Salt Lake City field. He had gone to Salt Lake Thursday to transact business and was en route home.

The crash that claimed his life also took the lives of J.J. Sterling, mayor and attorney of Benton Harbor, Mich.; Marcellus Zinsmaster, baking company official, Des Moines, Ia.; Bert McLaughlin, grocer of Perry, Ia.; E.W. Berglund, grocer and American Legion commander, Boone, Ia.; Mary Carter, stewardess, Salt Lake City; Lloyd Anderson, pilot, Cheyenne; and Kris G. Danielson, co-pilot, Cheyenne.

Government and airline officials who have been investigating cause of the crash refuse to hazard an opinion other than to intimate that unfavorable weather undoubtedly was a contributing factor.

Facts so far uncovered in the investigation are:

That the plane landed on its nose in an almost vertical position.

That it landed apparently in an inverted position, i.e., that the back of the plane was facing the hill, indicating that the plane may have either slipped over during an altitude climb or half back turn or may have started a tailspin.

That the crash occurred at 2:26 p.m., a few minutes after the takeoff Friday at 2 p.m., when the ill-fated ship disappeared into the skies. The time of the accident was fixed by the watch of co-pilot Eric Danielson, and somewhat corroborated by the ship clock, the hour hand of which was beyond 2 o’clock, but the minute hand was broken off.

That the atmosphere at the time of the crash was heavy with fog.

That pilot Anderson was still flying when the fatal plunge began and evidently was not seeking a forced landing, because the wheels of the ship were folded against the wings and the throttle was open.

That there were apparently no structural defects in the plane.

But other theories of the cause of the fatalities abounded. It is not known, definitely, whether the plane was above, beneath of in the fog, although investigators leaned to the opinion that the plane was flying “blind” through the fog. Causes of the crash were rumored variedly from a stalled motor, a too sudden ascent, to the striking of an obstruction which catapulted the plane between two trees, where it lit in a tangled mass of twisted steel.

All Killed Instantly

All occupants of the ill-fated air liner were instantly killed by the impact and their mangled, dismembered bodies were found in a heap in the front of the ship after a frantic two-day search of the trackless wastes between Salt Lake City and Cheyenne.

Six planes of the United Air Lines, one from the Western Air Express and an army plane, working in divisions out of Salt Lake and Rock Springs kept up a ceaseless search in spite of snow storms and fog. The wrecked plane was first sighted from the air Sunday at 5:21 p.m. by Don Broughton and Creighton H. Greer, pilots of one of the searching ships. Ground parties were soon at the wreck and began the gruesome task of removing the bodies.

The body of co-pilot Danielson was not recovered until yesterday.

E.D. Crippa, brother-in-law of Walker and Mrs. Walker, claimed the remains of the Rock Springs man and brought them to this city yesterday morning.

Wait in Vain for Friends

Al Weppner, of Cheyenne, and Joseph Weppner of Rock Springs, who was a guest at the home of his brother, waited in vain Friday afternoon for the arrival of three of the crash victims. McLaughlin, Bergland and Zinsmaster, who were to be guests for the evening at the Weppner home in Cheyenne.

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  • Created by: Angela Cable
  • Added: 30 Jul 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 74198677
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gene Lester Walker (1 Sep 1894–23 Feb 1934), Find a Grave Memorial ID 74198677, citing Rock Springs Cemetery, Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming, USA ; Maintained by Angela Cable (contributor 47277708) .