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JCOM student killed in crash; remembered for dressing well, laughter

March 13th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By April Ashland

LOGAN—USU said goodbye to a friend and brother this week as the campus came together for a memorial service to remember junior Trent Walker, 24, who was killed March 6 in a head-on collision in Spanish Fork Canyon.

Walker was coming home from a friend’s funeral. He was trying to pass another car in his silver truck, but collided with a semi truck traveling in the opposite lane.

Walker, a double major in JCOM and political science from Brigham City, was president of Sigma Chi during a challenging time for the fraternity as the group was spread across campus and Logan while the chapter house was remodeled.

Walker’s USU family and friends remembered him in a memorial service Thursday afternoon in the Kent Concert Hall. Led by Logan businessman and Sigma Chi alumnus Jim Laub, the 90-minute service drew more than 300 people.

Tiffany Evans, USU’s director of student involvement, said she would remember Walker’s smile and their talks. During a candlelight vigil Monday, she told the Greek community that her discussions with Walker often consisted of talking about his brothers, the Sigma Chi’s.

“He was a leader,” she said. “He put great responsibility on himself, and always made sure he was enhancing the lives of those he led.”

Evans has known Walker since he started at USU, but really got to know him over the last two years or so, she said. The two of them would talk about football, his goals, his fraternity, and life.

Evans said she was eating with friends at Café Sabor on Saturday when she looked at her phone and saw missed calls. She looked again, and saw the president of one of the sororities calling, and took the call.

“The first thing I did was call Stephanie, and said, ‘Tell me this isn’t true,’” she said. “I immediately then went to the house and was there all night.”

Walker was majoring in public relations, and was in Troy Oldham’s PR Case Studies class this semester.

Oldham said Walker had been a student in his Intro to PR class, but they didn’t get to know each other until this semester because it was such a large class. Walker was an important part of his senior-level capstone class this semester, Oldham said.

“He was not the type to jump up and make an obstacle of himself,” Oldham said. “He cared about the students in his groups, and in their reviews they’d say they liked his ability to get things done and bring people together.”

Oldham said Walker was obviously busy on campus, but that he didn’t use his involvement as an excuse for things undone. He said Walker was a good student and had a lot of potential.

“It’s the great tragedy of teaching,” Oldham said. “We as teachers get the opportunity to watch our students grow and learn, both professionally and in life. But we won’t be able to see that, it’s been cut short, and I think that’s the great tragedy.”

JCOM department head Ted Pease echoed Oldham’s sentiments. “Trent’s death is a real blow to all of us,” he said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.”

Senior PR major Nicole Peterson worked with Walker. She said what truly showed his character was a story she heard from a girl in one of her classes.

“She had seen a story on the news, and she knew that name,” Peterson said. “So she called her coworker, and had asked if it was him, and if he drove a silver truck. She told me that he came in sometimes to the dry cleaners, and had always smiled at them, and made them feel worth a million bucks.”

At the memorial service, Walker’s friends and family told stories about their times with him, and about who he was.
Nick Smith, a close friend and father of his best friend, said Walker was raised by a single mom, and was very stubborn.

“He could be a little hard-headed sometimes, and when he made up his mind, by hell he did it,” Smith said.

Fraternity brother Tyson Smith, Walker’s best friend from childhood, said he and Walker had been inseparable since they met, but that he couldn’t really describe their friendship.

“I don’t know how to explain to you a friendship that spanned 22 years of a 24-year life,” he said.

He and Walker were born two days apart, and he said they great up as twins. He talked about their times at the golf course in the summers, when one mom would drop the boys off at 8 a.m. and the other would pick them up after dark. Walker had style, Smith said; he was wearing a tie Walker had given him, as were many of the Sigma Chi brothers.

“Whenever he’d see someone who had a suit with no tie, he’d always get so mad at them,” Smith said. “He told me the world would be a better place if everyone wore ties.”

Walker was interred Thursday in Brigham City Cemetery.


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