Kathleen "Kay" Walker
1926-Jan. 17, 2021
Palo Alto, California
Kay Walker, a painter and early member of Gallery House, died 3 weeks after her husband, Dr. Murray Walker, of complications from Covid-19. Born in Canada, she graduated with a teacher’s degree; in 1947 she married Murray and moved to Chicago, then Germany, and finally to Palo Alto in 1957.
Some may think of Kay as just her husband’s “side-kick” because she followed Murray to play golf, get a pilot’s license, and become a card-carrying scuba-diver. But they would not be looking at the whole picture: Kay was a passionate and dedicated professional artist throughout her life, working mainly in acrylics and watercolor as well as sculpture and printmaking. She studied with other notable Bay Area painters Ken Washburn, Harry Anderson, Ray Brooks and Richard Bowman – all who she credited with helping her evolve her style. She was a member of the Palo Alto Art Club and one of the earliest members of Gallery House in Ladera. She exhibited at both organizations, Stanford University and the Vancouver Arts Club. She often said she hated to constrain a painting with a name, believing her audience should find their own meaning in her abstracts -- free of labels. Besides all this, Kay jumped at the chance to do set design for the Menlo Player’s Guild and collaborated throughout the 1970’s with Bob Trabucco on musicals such as ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and ‘How to Succeed in Business’. Kay absolutely loved working with a larger team to realize a creative project.
Beyond painting, Kay was an excellent cook (much to the delight of Murray and family) and also found time to golf! Notably she excelled at the short game but when frustrated by Stanford’s course she would say: “They really should install meditation huts along each green!”
Kay’s creative energy drove her curiosity about the world around her and opened her to all life had to offer. We are grateful for her artistic outpouring: Kay’s paintings continue to show us in tangible, lasting ways the joy of looking more deeply at the beauty in the world around us. Her works remain, reminding us that her creative spirit is always with us and within us. She is survived by 3 children, 6 grandkids and 10 great-grandkids.