Reverend Joseph Walker
1964 - 2011
Rev. Joseph Walker, 47, beloved husband, father, son, and brother, went home to be with his Redeemer, Jesus Christ the Son of God, on August 10, 2011. Joseph’s great gain is our deep loss. His death has left an immeasurable void in the lives of his family and friends. We will miss his calm presence, rich laughter, and joyful spontaneity.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Joseph was the son of John and Carmaine (Tucker) Walker. He was raised in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where he proved to be a true academic from a very early age, debating in model parliament, participating in many other activities, and being class valedictorian at his high school graduation from Sydney Academy. Joseph attended the University of King’s College, Halifax, from which he graduated with a BA in Classical Languages and Philosophy. It was here, at Kings, where Joseph first developed a passion for the writings of Augustine, whose Confessions helped to illuminate for Joseph what love is and, in his words, “changed the direction of my life.” Joseph sensed a calling from God, and went on to complete a Masters in Classics from Dalhousie and a Masters in Religion from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. He was ordained on June 3, 2001 in the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton. After working as a chaplain at the University of Alberta, he went on to pastor St. Andrew’s in Morinville. At the time of his death, he was Rector at St. Timothy’s in Edmonton.
The years Joseph spent in Halifax in the 1980s were transformative ones. It was also here where he first met Alisa Ketchum, whom he married in Edmonton on August 10, 1996. They had four children together, and Joseph’s deepest desire was to instill in the hearts of his children an understanding of the abiding and all-encompassing love of Christ. In an early profession of his convictions, Joseph wrote that “I long and wait for God to bring me home. I am learning to love him here and now, in the thousand details of everyday life. That is the fruit of all my reflections. I believe that I am part of a wonderful love story with Alisa, and with God. I believe that God has been shaping me and forming me so that I might help others with their own Love Stories – with Him and each other.”
Joseph allowed himself to be this helpmate in others’ lives with humour, honesty, and style. He was respected by his colleagues and loved by his congregants and friends. He was an excellent writer, and maintained an award-winning blog ‘Felix Hominum,’ on which he had many followers and through which he engaged people from all walks and persuasions. He was also a talented musician, with a love of jazz music and a gift for both leading worship and covering popular hits on his guitar. In recent years, Joseph began leading pilgrimages to Israel, Turkey, and Egypt, teaching fellow travellers about the lands of the Bible and the experiences of the early church. As with most opportunities he seized, these trips allowed Joseph to combine his gifts of Biblical insight and fresh perspective, his love for people, and his passion for thoughtful discussion over a strong cup of coffee.
In June of 2011, Joseph was diagnosed with cancer. After a courageous struggle, he died at the home of his parents in Red Islands, Cape Breton, where he had gone to introduce his children to the regions of his childhood. Besides his loving wife Alisa and his four wonderful children Emily, Sarah Joy, Adam, and Justin, Joseph is survived by his parents John and Carmaine Walker; sisters Rhonda Walker (Brian) Whidden, Carolyn (Bill) Bagnell; brother David (Paula) Walker; parents-in-law Philip and Paddy Ketchum; sisters-in-law Kate (Stephen) Tisdalle, Susannah Ketchum (Simon) Glass, and Amelia (Dave) Jensen; and brother-in-law Jonathan (Lucie) Ketchum. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Joseph ran well the race set before him and is now receiving the crown of life. A Requiem and Celebration of the Life in Christ and Witness of the Rev. Joseph Walker will be held on Saturday, September 10th at 3:00pm at All Saints’ Cathedral, 10035 – 103 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.