After a courageous battle with cancer, Janet Katherine Walker, 83, with great anticipation went to meet her Savior on March 11, 2023.
Janet was born December 4, 1939 at St. Rose Hospital in Great Bend, Kansas to parents Robert W. and Mary (Mooney) Roth. She grew up on a farm near Ellinwood Kansas where she and her five siblings were surrounded by many uncles, aunts and cousins. She attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Ellinwood, Kansas from Kindergarten to 5th grade. She then moved west to Cheyenne County Colorado in 1950 with her mother and siblings, to join her father who had gone before them in 1946 to acquire land for farming and to locate a place for their future homestead. The family farmstead was established in 1952 and was situated in the rural south east corner of Cheyenne County, Colorado. Janet attended Parochial school through her freshman year in high school and thoroughly enjoyed her time being taught by the nuns, in fact, so much so that she briefly considered becoming a nun. During the hard times of the dust bowl era, and rather than transfer schools to a town nearer to the farm, Janet was invited to live in town with a couple by the name of Matt and Ethel Ludwig, allowing her to complete her senior year with her classmates. She worked during the summers while attending high school and college at the Cheyenne County Abstract Title Company.
Following high school Janet attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and received her Associates degree in Business in 1959. She took a three year hiatus from university life to travel the world as an airline “stewardess” from 1959 to 1962. She received her training with Trans World Airlines in Kansas City Kansas and then enjoyed the sunny life of Los Angeles, California, as her home base when she was not flying. During these years with TWA, Janet formed many dear and lasting friendships. She then returned to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Business Education in 1963 at the University of Northern Colorado. Years later, in 1994, after raising her family, Janet received her Master’s Degree in School Counseling at Fort Hays State University.
Janet married her high school sweetheart, Larry Balman, on June 6, 1964. They began their married life in Sterling Colorado and she taught high school business at nearby Haxton High School. After the birth of their first daughter, Leslie, Janet and Larry moved to Littleton, Colorado in 1967 and later welcomed their second daughter, Stephanie, and a few years later their son, Greg. Sadly, Janet lost Larry to Cancer on September 23, 1976. However, during his illness Larry formed a meaningful friendship with a man by the name of Gene Walker, who was introduced to him by Janet’s sister-in-law. Gene had lost his wife to cancer and offered support to Larry in the form of christian mentorship, friendship and prayer during his last year of life. After the loss of each of their spouses, Janet and Gene stayed connected and their relationship grew over time. They made the decision to wed and were married on June 17, 1978. From this union Janet received two wonderful children as well, Marcia and Bryce. Janet moved her family to Weskan, Kansas, made the transition from city to rural life, and assumed the role of caring for a family of five children while supporting Gene’s farming and ranching business. She enjoyed studying her bible, sewing, cooking, traveling, visiting her friends, and following the activities of her children. Once her children were older, and with encouragement from Gene, she worked as a K-12 school counselor for Weskan schools from 1989-1993 and then for Sharon Springs schools from 1993-2010. Following her retirement from the school district, Janet worked part-time for Cheyenne County Abstract Title Company, and for the family who still owned the company from the time she worked there in high school.
Although Janet was raised in the church she was led by a friend to consider a more personal relationship with Jesus and made the decision to commit her life to Christ on January 15, 1975. She later described this as the highlight of her life. Janet was a lifelong and faithful studier of the bible and will be remembered by her husband and children as one who was committed to learning scripture and who could be found each morning at the kitchen table with an open bible She will be remembered by many as a strong and faithful christian mentor and counselor, and one who took great pleasure in sharing the hopeful message of Christ with others. She was bold in her witness, never hesitating to introduce the topic of salvation into any conversation with others, even with strangers that she would meet in the course of her day, in person or by phone. She and Gene were longtime Sunday School teachers, prayer partners and bible study leaders. Janet was a member of the Gideon Women’s Auxiliary ministry and along with her husband, Gene, was actively involved in Gideon jail ministries.
She is survived by her loving husband, Gene Walker of Weskan, Kansas; and children, Leslie Balman Stallard (Tim) of Lawrence, Kansas; Stephanie Balman of Cheyenne Wells, Colorado; Greg Balman (Angie) of Monument, Colorado; Marcia Walker Wireman (Charlie) of Gunnison, Colorado; Bryce Walker (Tracy) of Weskan, Kansas; and grandchildren, Cody (Alexandra) Wireman, Nick Wireman, Tony Wireman, Derek (Morgan) Kern, Payton (Evan) Stuckey, Hayden (Emma) Walker, Edgar Valenzuela, Colton Stallard, Cauy Stallard, Bennett Stallard, Katherine Stallard, Tucker Balman, Olivia Balman and Paige Balman; great-grandchildren, Braxton Kern, Quinn Stuckey, Walker Stuckey, Kahlan Wireman, Damian Wireman, Haiden Clopper, Wyatt Clopper, Adam Wireman, Atlas Wireman, Elija Wireman, Xander Wireman, Selene Wireman; and siblings, Darlene (Ted) Lohr, Jack (Sue) Roth, Bill (Sandi) Roth, Alan (Alice) Roth and Greg (Linda) Roth; as well as beloved cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents and first husband.
The service will be streamed on the Risen King Community Church Facebook page.