John Alan Walker
(September 21, 1965 -December 14, 2009)
John Alan Walker, Esq., chief legal officer and vice president for Human Resources at Barry University, passed away December 14, 2009, from colon cancer. Walker, a respected attorney, esteemed scholar, dedicated athlete and beloved member of the Barry community, was 44.
Walker was born on September 21, 1965, in Derby, Connecticut, to parents John Walker and Bari Reali. He graduated from Bradenton Christian High School in Bradenton, Florida, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in government and politics from the University of Maryland University College (Germany campus) in 1993.
In 1996, he graduated from the University of Florida’s Frederic G. Levin College of Law, where he was awarded the UF College of Law Claude Pepper Award for Outstanding Law Student of the Year in 1995 and was elected student body president of the College of Law. He was also elected as a member of Florida Blue Key, the oldest and most prestigious leadership honorary in the state of Florida. In 2008, Walker began pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Resources Development from Barry University.
Walker spent nearly a decade serving as legal counsel for Barry University, representing the university as outside counsel for about six years before being hired as Barry’s first in-house General Counsel in October 2006. As Barry’s chief legal counsel and vice president for Human Resources, he oversaw Barry’s Division of Legal Affairs and Human Resources. Prior to working at Barry, Walker was partner at Jones Walker, LLP, specializing in business law and labor and employment law and management, and also worked as an associate at Jorden Burt, LLP, specializing in labor and employment law defense and complex commercial litigation, and as an associate at Muller Mintz, PA.
Walker served as a member of several legal groups, including the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Florida Bar and the Business Law Section of the Florida Bar. In 2008, he was appointed as a member of the Florida Bar’s Education Law Committee, and from 2008 to 2009, he also served as board member for the national Association of College and University Attorneys’ NACUA-NOTES Editorial Board.
In 2006 and 2007, Walker was voted by his peers to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite” as “One of Florida’s Best Up and Coming Attorneys” and in 2008 was voted to the list as “One of Florida’s Top Attorneys.” In 2009, he became certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a circuit court mediator.
Prior to pursuing a career in law, Walker served in the United States Air Force from 1984 to1992, specializing in industrial hygiene and environmental protection. He was awarded “Bioenvironmental Engineering Employee of the Year” by the U.S. Air Force, European Command, in 1990.
Named “Best South Florida Adventure Athlete” by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2001 and 2002, Walker was known for his love of multi-sport racing activities, such as triathlons and duathlons, as well as adventure racing, mountain biking, running and kayaking. In 2001, he began competing as a member of the USA Triathlon. He qualified to represent the United States in Rimini, Italy, as member of Team USA during the International Triathlon Union’s World Duathlon Championships in September 2008.
In addition to competing in hundreds of duathlons, triathlons and adventure races over the past 10 years, Walker was also involved with several professional athletic groups. He served as chief marketing officer and co-owner of the company Adventurous Concepts, which pioneered long-course adventure racing in the state of Florida with the Florida Coast to Coast Adventure Race and spawned similar races in at least eight other states. He was a member of the RioFit Professional Organization, a networking club based out of Broward County that promotes keeping fit with semi-annual athletic competitions. From 2001 to 2009, he served as the legal counsel for the United States Adventure Racing Association National Executive Board.
A devout Christian, Walker was a member of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and attended services in Hollywood, Florida.
Walker is survived by his father and stepmother, John and Terry Walker, his mother and stepfather, Bari and Vince Reali, his brother Michael Kwiatkowski, his sisters Wendy Bennett, Jody Walker and Kristie Walker, and his wife Vanessa Costigan Walker.
The John A. Walker Memorial Foundation, Inc. has been founded to honor John’s memory by raising money for the events and causes he loved and supported—physical fitness challenges, Barry University and cancer/screening awareness education for adults below the screening ages. To make a donation, stop by any branch of Bank of America and ask to make a donation to the John A. Walker Memorial Foundation.