James Walker

Jim Walker. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — James William Walker, age 61, of Lake County passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on June 25, 2021, of pneumonia.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on July 31 at 10 a.m. at the gun range at Highland Springs Park, 3800 E. Highland Springs Road in Lakeport, with a tri-tip barbecue with “all the fixin’s” immediately following the services provided by the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

Jim was a Texan who was extremely proud of his Scottish heritage and to have ancestors who were “Walker, Texas Rangers.”

His family relocated to the Central Valley of California, and he graduated from Clovis High School at the age of 16.

Now Jim was honest as the day is long, but he was also a born Patriot. I think it is all right to admit now that he entered the United States Air Force upon graduation by lying about his age and forging his mother’s signature. It took four decades, but the government finally figured it out.

In 1986, Jim separated from the military. He always said separating from the service would have been his biggest regret, had it not been for the fact that if he had not, he would not have met who he always adoringly referred to as “His Lovely Bride,” with whom he shared the last 34 years of his life.

Jim worked his way up from residential apprentice electrician to industrial master electrician, earning his Bachelor of Science degree, and was recognized as one of the top three master electricians in the nation by the National Fire Protection Association in 2015.

During his employment with the county of Sonoma, Jim voluntarily taught night classes to enable other employees to obtain their “journeyman” level electrical certifications.

On weekends, Jim worked with his friends Clif at Lake County Guns in Lakeport, John and Ethan at Coyote Point Armory in Lower Lake and was instrumental in helping his friends Linda and Dave establish their gun shop at GI Joes in Ukiah.

Jim was a “distinguished graduate” of and ambassador for the Front Sight Firearms Institute, a National Rifle Association certified instructor, a United States Concealed Carry Association certified instructor and a California State Department of Justice Certified Firearms Safety Instructor.

Jim built his life on being of service to his family and community. In fact, he met his lovely bride while fundraising for “The Sheriff’s Posse” and the “Peace Officers Association” in Humboldt County in 1987.

Jim had a guardian heart and a warrior spirit who mentored many young people. He was always kind and affable, gracious and good-natured, with a wicked sense of humor, and was known for his “Dad Jokes.”

Jim was a true gentleman who had that “Southern Charm” that naturally drew people in. He was also crazy smart. There was no need for “Google” with Jim Walker around. Although he humbly claimed, “My mind is just a swirling caldron of useless information,” I learned long ago to NEVER play “Trivial Pursuit” with that man, and to NEVER bet against him.

Jim was a “motorcycle enthusiast” (AKA biker) who loved tooling around the United States on his Harley Road King or Indian Scout to a plethora of bike runs with his friends, including Sturgis, South Dakota twice. He called his Indian scooter “The Other Redheaded Love of his Life.”

Being of service brought tremendous joy to his life. From the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association Steel Challenge to the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, Jim stepped up to help.

He volunteered countless hours teaching handgun classes with the help of his “Range Monkeys” and Best Friends Luis, Roberto, Todd, and Jeremy at the Konocti Rod and Gun Club, where he was an immensely popular and knowledgeable instructor.

In 1997, Jim brought together the Lion’s Club and his personal “biker” friends to create the “Cloverdale Toy Run” to provide toys to underprivileged children at Christmastime. The “Run” is in its 24th year.

In 2005, Jim helped found the Lake County Chapter of the Friends of NRA and has been the chairman since 2007. With the aid of his dedicated friends, they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money to secure the Second Amendment, and to fund local youth education programs, women-focused firearms training and self-defense, law enforcement training, hunter safety programs, and firearms and marksmanship training and safety.

Jim was the “special events coordinator” for the Lake County Peace Officers Association for the past fifteen years, working tirelessly organizing dinners and events, and raising money with his locally famous “gun raffles” for other nonprofit organizations and for the families of fallen officers.

Jim was instrumental in developing what has become the annual Clearlake Police Department K-9 fundraiser dinner where he once ingeniously auctioned a cake for $1,400 and raised money by promising that all the police officers would wear kilts to the following fundraiser (and they did)!

After retiring from the county of Sonoma in 2017, he continued to be of service in what was especially close to his heart and started his own firearms training business, called “Dionadair Training.” Dionadair is Gaelic for “Defender.”

Jim believed that the protection of oneself and loved ones is an inalienable right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and he made it his personal goal to provide people with the skills and abilities to take responsibility for that protection with confidence and competence.

Jim is also known by many as “Reverend Jim,” and in this capacity, he had the great honor of officiating at numerous weddings of family and friends and “Bike Blessing” events. He was extraordinarily gratified to note that over the past 30 years, ALL “His Couples” remain united to this day.

Jim is survived by his lovely bride, Teddi Walker; his son, Dallas, and his wife, Crisana Leighton; his daughter, Brandie-Lynn Leighton; his son, Ryan Dilks; his sister, Tracy Bozarth; his cousin, Karen Walker; his niece, Malori, and her husband, Leopoldo Reyes; and his nephews, Isaac and Aiden.

He was the proud Papa of Carseyana, Riah and Gracelyn, Alyssa, Isabella, Jesse and Andrew, and Riley, Hunter and Corbin.

It was Jim’s ultimate objective and ambition to be the man his family could always count on to be there for them, no matter the circumstance, and he attained his goal.

Jim was our Rock, he will forever be our Hero, and his legacy is the experience, strength and hope that he instilled in his children and grandchildren.