9300 Golf Course Rd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114
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We are sad to announce the passing of Phillip David Walkington who proudly and productively lived his adult life in Albuquerque, NM. He died at 79 in his home, built to his needs and specifications 35 yrs. ago, where he savored dramatic views of the mountains, city, and river, family/friends, and life. Diagnosed with prostate cancer after a 24 yr. remission, he was under hospice care for a week, surrounded and cared for by his beloved family. His son administered medicine around the clock for three days before Phil took his last breath on Sunday, November 6, 2022.
Both sets of Phil's parents were hardworking people who resided in Illinois. His father, Emory David Walkington, was the last of 8 children born to David and Emma Alderson Walkington, whose farm was located in Macoupin County. Emory attended nearby Bradley College, studying building trades, carpentry, and furniture design. In 1933 he married Agnes Lucille Pohlod. She was the second daughter in George and Mary Pohlod's family of 6 children who lived in nearby Auburn where her father worked as a coal miner. Emory opened his reupholstery/carpenter shop in Springfield during the early days of the Great Recession.
After Pearl Harbor and our country's declaration of war, the demand for ammunition created a need for employees at Western Cartridge Company located in East Alton. In 1941, Emory was hired as a carpenter at this rapidly expanding factory. Ron Walkington was born in 1941, followed by Phil in 1943. Both attended local public schools and enrolled at the
University of Illinois.
Phil delayed the continuation of his professional schooling as he planned his career trajectory. He worked two full-time jobs to fund his education at DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago, enrolling in 1963. In 1964 he married Karol Kania, a schoolmate two yrs. his junior.
In 1965 he accepted a position at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and began his career as a technician in explosive field testing of non-nuclear components of nuclear weaponry. He enjoyed this largely outdoor work experience for several years before transferring into nondestructive testing which employs diverse technology including hologram, ultrasonic, & eddy current to detect problems in aircraft, rotorcraft, space shuttles, for our military, NASA, Boeing, Delta to name a few of the various customers. After garnering 25 awards national and international, he retired in 2005, proud of his career dedicated to protecting the national security of this country. "I would like to share a few awards in which I take great pride." (Quoted from his Sandia Labs retirement album)
1998 *Discover Magazine Award "Technical Innovation, Composite Doubler Repair Technique"
*ERA "Team for the Composite Doubler Repair of Commercial Aircraft"
1999 *Technical Advance Disclosure "Acute Aircraft Window Frame Inspection"
*Developed Eddy Current Inspections Procedure for Dodder Modifications
2001 *Patent: "Ultrasonic Inspection Apparatus and Method Using a Focus Wave Device"
*ERA "Aircraft Composite Inspection and Reference Standard Team"
*Investigated Amer. Airlines Flight #587 crash
*Developed ultrasonic technique for inspecting patches on metallic structure
2003 *Better Way Award, "46th Annual Award," Montreal, Canada
*Sandia National Labs "Distinguished Technologist Award"
2004 *ERA "Space Shuttle Inspection Team"
2005 *ERA Nomination "Computer Aircraft Inspection Team"
*Technical Advance Disclosure
*LBJ Space Center "Group Achievement Award"
*President's Quality Award "Health Monitoring of the Space Shuttle"
*Sandia National Lab Award "Highest Standards of Excellence"
2006 *ERA Award "Airworthiness Assurance Team"
2008 *Patent "Rotating Concave Eddy Current Probe"
1965-1979 *Field tests, Fire Protections Research for Nuclear Regulatory Commission
*Fuel Fire Testing Plutonium Accident Resistant Container Rail Car Shipping
Phil's lifelong commitment to fitness began at 13 with weightlifting and moved into basketball 15 yr. later. Next came marathons; biking to and from work morphed into triathlons. He was a certified scuba diver and loved beach combing. When he first saw an ocean he remarked, "Wow, I'd sure like to have one of those in our backyard!" (1971).
His collections include shells, rocks, coins, jokes, books about exploration/history, and friends. He loved to engage people he met - on a bus, sporting event, library, hike, traveling. Always inquisitive, he was disarming to all - young or old. He simply had the tenacity and enthusiasm to follow through on his widespread interests. Our focus moving forward is to remember and emulate Phil's courageous and positive life.
Since his father was a war worker, he was always puzzled about the war housing his family occupied from 1941 till 1964. He researched the "defense area" home his family rented and later bought, culminating in, I Grew Up in WAR HOUSING, Vertel Publishing, copyright 2018, for which he received a Bronze Metal from Military Writers Society of America in 2019. Various US historical/military museums use this detailed book for reference, which is currently available online. He filled his last days reflecting on those people who sent him their family pictures. "Their photos brought my book to life," he said proudly of his war worker neighbors.
Immediate surviving family members are his wife, Karol, mentioned above; son, Scott David Walkington, (mechanical engineer at Sandia Labs); daughter-in-law Virva Sarmas Walkington, (UNM Medical School student); grand-daughter Irina Maria Walkington, and grandson Axel David Walkington. His only sibling is Ron Walkington (structural engineer), and wife, Margy (teacher), who are retired and reside in Geneva, Il.
While he donated to many charities, he felt best when he donated to SmileTrain, which provides free cleft palate surgeries to babies and children around the world. The family suggests that a donation to the SMILE TRAIN be offered in lieu of flowers.
A Memorial Service will be on held on Friday, December 2, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., FRENCH - Westside.