Matthew Henry Walker Wallace was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 7, 1924. He was the son of John McChrystal Wallace and Frances Glenn Walker Wallace. He was known as M. Walker Wallace, or simply as Walker. Walker passed on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
Walker grew up in Salt Lake City with his brother John McChrystal Wallace, Jr, they enjoyed skiing together and later were active business partners. Walker attended Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. He attended University of California, Los Angeles, while also serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II on the USS Pheasant minesweeper. He attained the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade) serving in San Diego. He went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree (economics & graphic arts) from Stanford University in 1947 and then a Masters of City Planning (urban planning) in 1950 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Walker married Constance Gwinnell Cone in 1954 in Hanover, New Hampshire. She passed in 1980. On July 11, 1981, he married Susan S. Rilling in Salt Lake City.
Walker and Sue spent many happy years together. They travelled widely, hiked on mountain trails, cross-country skied, browsed in art museums, attended symphony concerts and ballet performances, and played chamber music with friends (Walker on the viola, Sue on violin). They both enjoyed discussing politics and would do so regularly with the daily Salt Lake Tribune and cups of coffee.
Walker was an outstanding athlete. He competed as an amateur in many sports. He was on the Stanford University tennis team. He competed in downhill and slalom skiing. His dreams of becoming an Olympic skier were dashed when he broke his leg at the 1948 Olympic trials. As a golfer he hit TWO “holes in one.” Every winter for many years Walker and Sue would escape to their home in Rancho Mirage, CA, which was only steps away from the nearest golf course where he could golf every day. Walker also loved fly-fishing which he learned from his father. Continuing a family tradition, he was a member and one-time president of the Flat Rock Club in Island Park, Idaho. His casts were things of beauty, and he caught (and returned) several record-breaking trout. He fished all over the world, but his favorite place was the Flat Rock Club where he took his family every summer for a long stay and lots of fishing.
After graduating from MIT and working in Boston 1950-54, Walker returned to Salt Lake City and through several ventures acquired the Salt Lake City branch of National Planning & Research. Working with his brother John, and John's good friend Robert McConaughy, they changed the name to Wallace McConaughy Corp. After McConaughy's retirement, Walker formed Wallace Associates as he joined forces with several additional principals. The name was then changed to Wallace Associates Companies and comprised seven operating divisions. It was a prominent full service commercial real estate concern for many years until his semi-retirement at the age of 73 in 1996. One of his early clients was United Park City Mines for whom in 1958 he prepared the initial feasibility study for what would become Park City Resort.
Walker’s other business interests included serving the Boston City Planning Board, Walker Bank & Trust (started by grandfather, Matthew Henry Walker), Arizona Ranch & Metals (with his brother and father), Mountain Bell Telephone Co., Idaho Television Corp., First Interstate Bank of Utah, American Geological Enterprises, and Arnold Machinery Company. He was one of Ted Johnson’s original partners in the establishment of Snowbird Ski Resort. He received the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
Walker was directly involved for many years with both the Utah Symphony and Ballet West, both institutions that his parents were instrumental in forming. Walker received the Utah Governor’s Award in the Arts in 1991.
Of his many efforts in Salt Lake City, during his time with the Salt Lake City Downtown Planning Association he was instrumental in both the Main Street beautification project and construction of the Salt Palace.
Working with Governor Cal Rampton, Jack Gallivan, Dev Jennings, Gene Donovan, Max E. Rich, F.C. Kozial, and Glen Adams, Walker was part of the initial efforts to bring the Winter Olympic Games to Utah, presenting to the International Olympic Committee in Rome in 1966. While their initial efforts did bring attention to Salt Lake City and Utah, it would be another 29 years until Salt Lake City would win the bid for the Winter Games. The seed had been planted and blossomed in 2002 when Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympic Games.
Walker was a founding member of the Nova Chamber Music Series, and was the founding director and first president of the Cottonwood Club. He served as director of both the Alta Club and Salt Lake Country Club. He served on the Downtown Alliance Organizing Committee and served as President of the Downtown Planning Association, both in Salt Lake City. He further served numerous local civic organizations including: Utah Endowment for the Arts, Utah State Fair Foundation, The Nature Conservancy of Utah, University of Utah David Eccles School of Business, U. of U. Reynolds Association and U. of U. Health Sciences, along with Westminster College, Planned Parenthood of Utah, Rotary Club of Salt Lake City, and Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Walker is the one responsible for the Walker Center (formerly Walker Building) sign providing the local weather forecast that he implemented while managing the building where he maintained an office for many years. He got the idea from the Old John Hancock Building in Boston. A poem, part of Boston lore, deciphers the lights: Steady blue, clear view. Flashing blue, clouds due. Steady red, rain ahead. Flashing red, snow instead.
Walker is predeceased by his parents, his brother John, and first wife Connie. He is survived by his wife, Sue, children Matthew (Christi Paulson) and Annie (Brad Maulding), step-children Kim Ritschel (Robert), Ann Rilling, and Lynn Rilling. Also, grandchildren Caroline, Marshall, Christopher, and Charlie, and step-grandson, Lucas.
In accordance with Walker’s wishes, there will be no formal service. You may contact the family at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to have a celebration of life when Covid is under control.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to The Nature Conservancy of Utah or a charity of your choice.