Document Type

Finding Aid

Publication Date

2016

Collection Date

1915-1984

Identifier

987-10-04

Description

Myrl Vincent Walker was born May 20, 1903 in Alden, Kansas to Elmer and Florence E. (Vincent) Walker. Walker married Wilda Irene Opdycke on June 14, 1930 in Hays, Kansas. The couple had one daughter, Margaret Jean Walker born in 1934. Wilda Walker died on November 7, 1980;Myrl Walker died on May 23, 1985. They are buried at Fort Hays Memorial Gardens, Hays, Kansas.

Walker started college at Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas from 1921-1923. He attended Kansas State Teachers College (now Fort Hays State University) from 1923-1927 majoring in Biological Science and earning a B.S. degree in 1927. Walker taught school for several years and then attended the University of Kansas from 1930-1931 earning a M.A. in vertebrate paleontology.

Walker was a close associate of George F. Sternberg, renowned paleontologist and former curator of the natural history museum at Fort Hays State University. They worked together for five consecutive summers, starting in 1927, digging for fossils in Wyoming.

In 1933, Walker became a Federal Civil Service Ranger and Park Naturalist. He was first appointed to the Petrified Forest National Monument, then to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, on to Crater Lake National Park, then to Glacier National Park, then to Yosemite in 1944. He returned to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks from 1947 to 1955.

While employed for the National Park Service, Walker wrote a number of articles. Some of these articles are entitled: The Petrified Forest of Arizona (1935); Evidence of Triassic Insects in Petrified Forest National Monument (1938); Black Widow Spiders, A Forest turned to Stone, I have seen Crater Lake, These Little Pigs have a Way (1941); Reptiles and Amphibians of Yosemite National Park (1946); National Parks and Monuments of Utah (1947, revised 1953); and National Parks in Nature Education (1951).

Walker returned to Fort Hays Kansas State College in 1955 as an Assistant Professor in the Geology Department. Walker was promoted to Associate Professor (1964), and Professor (1972); and was appointed Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences in 1970. Walker also served as the Director of Sternberg Memorial Museum from 1955 until his retirement on July 1, 1973. In 1988, a series of paleontology papers were published as “Articles in Honor of Myrl V. Walker,” Fort Hays Studies, 3d ser. v. 10 (Science series).

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