Farewell To Max Walker

Max Walker, founder of lawn mower manufacturer Walker Manufacturing, died last week. He was 88.

Here are excerpts from his obituary in The Coloradan:

Family and friends described Walker, who died Sept. 19, as genuine and down-to-earth.

Ken Weaver worked with Walker for many years as the company's director of human resources.

"The simple, decent way Max lived life had an impact on everyone fortunate enough to know him," Weaver said.

Walker was a constant presence at the Colorado company, often seen out mowing the grounds.

"One of his passions was mowing," Weaver said. "He loved to get out on a piece of equipment in the sunshine."

Walker started his first company in 1960, manufacturing the first gasoline-powered golf car.

He later sold the company and started making small trucks that could be used at airports and resorts and in factories.

He got a job welding steel building frames and was approached by Byco of Greeley to develop an agricultural tractor cab cooler. After designing the cooler, he sold the plans and patent rights to Byco, which hired Walker to manufacture them.

At Byco's urging, Walker moved the company to Fort Collins, Colo., in 1974.

In 1977, Walker Manufacturing created what later became its flagship product -- a bright yellow, top-of-the-line lawn mower -- and by 1984, Walker was solely a lawn mower manufacturer.

Today, Walker Manufacturing employs about 155 and does business around the globe. It is run by Max's sons, Bob and Dean.

Walker is survived by his wife, Margaret, with whom he celebrated a 68th wedding anniversary on Sept. 11; son Bob and his wife, Barbara; daughter Ruth and her husband, Dave; son Dean and his wife, Suzanne; daughter Nina and her husband, John; 13 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his grandson Daniel Max Walker.