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Posted on 02.04.2014 9:40 a.m.

Walter Docker of Santa Barbara, 1918-2014

Source: KC Kenzel

Walter Henry Docker died Jan. 26, 2014. He was born Dec. 14, 1918.

Walter Henry Docker
Walter Henry Docker

Walter was an accomplished, self-taught man who was born in Birmingham, England, and came through Ellis Island to Santa Barbara with his family in 1926, one of the generation who worked and expected no favors.

Walter learned to fly in the late 1930s, served in World War II, learned to play the accordion and the organ, was always on a motorcycle and raced at Daytona in 1950.

As a master machinist, he worked on "the Gun" at Delco developing the shape used for the space program re-entry capsule, and headed a team that built the wheels for the lunar rover. After he retired, and until just recently, he was still making parts in his small shop at home, some to help others restoring old motorcycles.

As a young man, he was very active in the Santa Barbara Motorcycle Club, and could tell great stories about the club's New Year's Eve race, which was run one minute after midnight. It was a race at night, across the dirt fire roads that are Camino Cielo, to Gibraltar Dam, making five river crossings and ending at Happy Canyon. He won that race in 1938, '51 and '52.

Less than a year ago, Walter was still driving, until recently breaking a hip and arm, which began a slow decline. As soon as he was able, and fiercely independent, he returned to live at home, where he died in his sleep at 95.


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