RIPON — Todd Walker, 38, of Ripon, was celebrated for his passions for family, friends and the fire service at his funeral Monday afternoon at the Mormon stake center on Northland Road in rural North Manteca.
Firefighters from numerous departments from Fremont to his team members in Ebbetts Pass brought some 43 fire trucks and ambulances to the LDS stake center. The Manteca and Ripon departments placed their 100-foot aerial trucks across from each other at the rear of the church and extended their ladders to display a large American Flag.
Bagpiper Gary L. McDaniel performed the traditional background music for the pall bearers to bring Walker’s casket into the building as firefighters in the room stood saluting their fallen brother after the Tracy Fire Department Honor Guard presented the Colors.
At the conclusion of the over hour-long ceremony with its personal testimonials, the firefighter honor guard carried the casket to a waiting Ebbetts Pass fire truck parked in front of the church, lifting it into the empty hose bed. Black bunting was strung along the sides of the vehicle.
Three Manteca Police motorcycle units and a black and white patrol car acted as escorts from the Northland Road church to Highway 99 where the California High Patrol was scheduled to take the lead of the nearly four dozen fire units. The procession headed for Highway 120 to North Ripon Road and ultimately to the Ripon Cemetery.
Walker was a graduate of Ripon High School and had served as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic with the Ripon Department for two years. He signed on with the Ebbetts Pass department also as a firefighter/paramedic in 2002 continuing to live with his family in Ripon. He leaves his wife Laura and daughters Trina, Morgan and Katelyn along with one son Elliott. A new baby is expected in March.
The Ripon paramedic died Monday, Nov. 28, as he was driving his family down French Camp Road suffering what was described as a profound cardiac event. California law defines such an off-duty heart attack to be most likely caused by on-the-job stress for a first responder.
Walker’s family is requesting any memorial donations be made to the Walker Children’s Education Fund at the Ebbetts pass Fire District, P.O. Box 66, Arnold, CA 95233.