A goodbye to Idaho's Wayne Walker

Wayne Walker obit

BOISE -- Hundreds turned out in Boise Tuesday for a celebration of the life of Idaho great Wayne Walker.

Walker, a Boise native, University of Idaho and NFL superstar, and Hall of Fame broadcaster, died last month at 80 years old.

A star Vandal linebacker and center, Wayne was selected in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. For the next 15 years he was considered one of the league's most feared hitters. Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown said no one ever tackled him harder than 'that guy from Idaho.' He would become one of the many close friends of Wayne Walker.

The transition from football to broadcasting, both at the network level and local, was a smooth one. His weekly Sports Challenge segment was a viewer favorite in the Bay Area for a decade with his race against a trolley car ranking as a classic moment in San Francisco TV history.

Walker retired from KPIX TV in the Bay Area in 1994 and came home to Boise where he became the host of KTVB's award-winning outdoor program Incredible Idaho.

Throat cancer hit Walker in 2007, but always a fighter, he beat it and proclaimed himself healthy in 2009.

Then, in 2015, he announced he was battling a new disease - Parkinsons - which he and his doctors determined was the result of 15 years of giving and taking blows to the head in the NFL.

Wayne Walker: Football giant, broadcasting great, family man, Idaho legend.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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