From the official obituary:
Daniel Max Walker, 22, passed away July 23, 2008. Dan passed away during his sleep due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
Dan was born Aug. 29, 1985. He graduated from F C H S in 2004, where he participated in football, lacrosse and track.
After high school, Dan attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., graduating in May 2008 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
At Olivet, Dan was a four-year member of the football team, a football captain a member of Testament Men’s Choir, built and raced a Baja car and was a stellar disc golfer. Dan was currently working as an activities director at Golden Bell Camp and Conference Center. . .
Dan was a pilot, enjoyed the outdoors and was an excellent potter. Dan was a committed son, brother, friend and follower of Christ. His friends’ sentiments are…
“You were a living testimony to what God teaches us through Jesus Christ. It takes great character to live out your belief, and that trait was very evident in you.”
“You are an inspiration, a true man of God, one day I hope that I can be like you.”
“I know you lived your ‘grown up years’ as a man of God ... a true Testimony of Christ!”
“You set the standard ... you were a great example and an amazing Christian man.”
“You were a Man of God that everyone could lean and rely on. You have not only been a leader to your peers but to the family around you.”
I have been to many funerals in my life, and have played the organ for many as well. I have been to very sad services, and I have been to celebrations of life. This was the latter. Of course we're sad. Obviously there were many tears. But there was laughter and joy as well - our church building isn't large enough to handle the outpouring of love for this family, so we went to a large church in the town just north of us.
I wish I had known Dan better - based on the stories told during the audience participation, he was a truly amazing young man. He was wise beyond his years. Here are some excerpts from his application to the Focus on the Family Institute, where he planned to be for the fall semester.
"I'll probably never be in a full time ministry position in the church, but I'm convinced that I should be very involved in and contribute to the ministry and health of the church."
"I'm by no means perfect, but I have convictions that I hold on to, and I think people respect that."
"There are a lot of people that talk about God without basis or understanding, and I think that one thing I'm called to is to let people know of God's word for them wherever I am, and I know the need I have to know God's truth in order to do that effectively."
"Being a Christian also shapes how I look at everyday tasks. Something very powerful was when I learned that everything, no matter how trivial or menial, can and should be seen as an act of worship to God. So when I see the world through that lens, doing my homework, playing football, or even art takes on a powerful new perspective."
Dan's girlfriend, who would probably have been his fiancee soon, has spent the last month or so in India, doing a mission that was amazingly challenging for such a young woman. She shared with us that the last time she and Dan spoke face to face, they sat on a patio down at the camp and talked about heaven - about the streets of gold - how something we value so greatly here on earth is used for paving the streets in heaven. Did he have some inkling of his future?
I don't presume to understand God's thinking. But I have to say that I have thought often in the last 3 days of how close we came to losing Kev so many times during the years of his lostness (See Kev's story on my sidebar, if you don't know what I am referring to). I am so thankful for the grace of God that allowed Kev to live long enough to be ready to die. Dan was ready. And he will never more feel the sting of death -