Jayhawk baseball mourns the passing of Clayton A. “Bud” Walker
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Athletics and the baseball team express great sorrow in the passing of Clayton A. “Bud” Walker. He was 85.
“Kansas baseball lost a great friend in Bud Walker,” head coach Ritch Price said. “It was an honor to get to know Bud during my tenure as coach at the University of Kansas and I loved the time we got to spend together. Bud’s love of life, family, children and the great outdoors was big time! I was amazed at his sincere generosity to his hometown of Pittsburg (Kansas), and its community, along with Kansas baseball and his Caring for Kids program. He helped so many people live a better life. We all know that this is a difficult time for (his wife) Margaret and (his son) Mike, but all the great memories will last a lifetime.”
Walker was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated from Pittsburg High School in 1950. After serving in the United States Navy out of high school, Walker earned a business degree from the University of Kansas in 1958. Upon graduation, he married his wife, the former Margaret Willie, of Kansas City, Kansas.
Walker founded Vinylplex, a manufacturer of PVC pipe in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1971. Then in 1983, with his two sons and Steve Laskey, started Vinyltech Corporation in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2000, Walker exited the pipe business and was drawn back to where he grew up and joined Terry Kunstel with T&C Wildlife.
Walker also held ownership in several other businesses including General Poly (1978), Magic Oil (1980) and Business Essential’s (1981). He was also an owner of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball (MLB) club in 1974.
An avid outdoorsman, Walker was passionate about bird hunting in Kansas and Canada, fishing the Canadian border lakes with friends and family, and big game hunting in North America and Africa. His favorites were bobwhite quail and whitetail deer. He achieved 65-consecutive opening-day Kansas quail hunts with friends.
His desire for others to experience the outdoors in Kansas led him to endow and support the Kansas Wildscapes Cabin Project. His love of sports led him to ownership of Magic Stables (thoroughbred horse racing), a founding member of Wolf Creek Golf Club and a supporter of the University of Kansas Williams Education Fund, where he was also a proud supporter of the University of Kansas baseball team. He endowed the Southeast Kansas Community Foundation and began a foundation called Caring for Kids.
“I am saddened by the passing of Bud, but celebrate the life of a great Jayhawk,” senior associate athletics director for external and the Williams Education Fund Matt Baty said. “As I look back to the individuals who have had the most impact on the baseball program and my playing career at the University of Kansas there are few others who come to mind than Bud Walker. His commitment to not only our program, but the community that surrounds us through his Caring for Kids program, leaves a lasting impression. Getting to know Bud as a student-athlete and understanding what it means to give back was instrumental in my career choice. I have lived and now seen first-hand the impact stakeholders like Bud have on a student-athlete’s academic and athletic success.”
Bud is survived by his wife Margaret, and a son Michael (Jolene) who reside in Arizona. He is also survived by three granddaughters. He is preceded in death by his son, David; his parents; two sisters, Carol Adams and Cloe Ann Bentlage; and a brother, Jim Walker.
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