My childhood friend Glenroy Walker died on November 21st.
I haven’t seen him in many years but we had recently reconnected on Facebook, in the casual way people do. I’ve seen pictures of his lovely family, we exchanged pleasantries here and there. That’s all. No meeting up for coffee or getting the kids together to play. But we each knew the other was well and the connection confirmed what I had always suspected when I thought of Glenroy, which I did often and fondly: he was still a strong, happy, and kind person.
I don’t remember how we became friends. I honestly don’t even remember specifics of hanging out, but that’s true of anybody from my youth. I don’t have the best recall – a few events stick out, but it’s mostly feelings and impressions. Who was funny, who was serious, who you didn’t want standing behind you because they were going to give you the ol’ bunny ears every time.
My memories of Glenroy are his kindness, his thoughtfulness, his ever-present smile, and his gentle humor. I remember that Glenroy was an extremely funny guy, but not in the same way the rest of us might be. Children’s humor is a particular blend of the gross and the mean and Glenroy never resorted to either of these that I recall. He was the Pixar to our DreamWorks – classier and more intelligent, but just as funny.
Glenroy was a good man before any of us were men at all. His good spirit has influenced me throughout my life. There are times when he has been at best the reason for a positive outlook and at least the source of a smile. Finding out a couple of years ago that he was doing well and had a family was no surprise. Looking at his posts and seeing the same kind person in them was no surprise.
As children we shared interests in video games and GI Joe – what more did you need back then? As adults we both had a respect for Allen Hunt, one of the most sincere and positive voices on the radio. I listen to Mr. Hunt whenever I can. He shoots straight and says things that you might not want to hear. I know I end up feeling a little uncomfortable at least once per show. I bet Glenroy would just listen and smile, not even thinking about how good a man he was to not have Mr. Hunt’s words assault his conscience.
I don’t know any of that for a fact, but I would bet on it.
When I first read of the tragedy that struck Glenroy and his family a couple of weeks ago it hit me hard. All I knew from Facebook was that the Walker family were struck by another automobile. The two kids were miraculously okay, but Glenroy and his wife Sandra were in the hospital. The update was not clear on the extent of their injuries, but seemed as positive as such a thing could be. I posted my thoughts on his page. I kept the family in mind, never imagining any outcome other than total recovery. I felt it. I knew everything would be okay. I never thought otherwise.
Last night I popped on Facebook for a few minutes during commercials and saw that Glenroy had died. Here is the full article:
I cried some. I didn’t cry for me because I haven’t seen that smiling kid I remember in years. We were friendly enough online, but hadn’t really rekindled a friendship. I didn’t cry for Glenroy because I know for a fact that he is in Heaven right now beyond the cares of this hard world. I cried for the thought of the family that has lost a daddy. I cried because those two little kids are only going to have pictures and memories. Because Sandra has known the love of one of the finest men in the world for however many years and now he is gone. It hurt me terribly to think of those things and it hurt me terribly to think that it could happen to me and my family, or anybody at all.
I called my mom on the way into work today to tell her. I know she really liked Glenroy and thought he was a good influence on me and she was right. She had a tough time with it. She’s worried about his family and has added them to her prayer list.
My whole purpose today was to write a little bit about this great guy I had the privilege of knowing. I am thankful that I had him in my life even for the few years that I did. He will always be one of those beacons of virtue that you just sort of carry around with you, you know?
So I’m going to ask you something now. I’ve never asked you guys for anything before and would never do it for myself. But if you have any little bit extra to spare to help out the bereft family of a good man, please go and donate a little something to help cover medical expenses, funerary costs, whatever. These poor, lovely people have been absolutely devastated by life and I’d like to think any little bit of help we can give will maybe not ease their suffering, but give them one less thing to have to worry about.
I made a donation right after I read the news. My mom sent something along too.
If I have ever made you laugh, if you’ve ever enjoyed my work, or if I’ve ever lifted your spirits at all do me this favor. Because I would be a different person than I am if I hadn’t known Glenroy Walker. He has contributed something to the writings here. Every kind word I have typed or positive outlook I have maintained has just a touch of Glenroy in it.
If you just don’t have anything extra, that’s cool too. I am not generally a charitable person and I get that one’s own needs have to be met first. But repost this link somewhere good if you know a place. Or just pray for Glenroy’s family.
Here’s the link if you want to help out: