DAVIS, CALIF. — The University of California-Davis is mourning the loss of one of the founding members of the California Animal Health
and Food Safety Laboratory, a veterinary diagnostic lab operated for the state by the college's veterinary school.
Dr. Richard Langan Walker Jr., 56, was found on the beach in Bodega Bay, Calif., after being reported missing a few days earlier.
Authorities are investigating his death as a probable suicide, according to Lynn Narlesky, a spokesperson for UC-Davis.
"Dr. Walker is greatly missed, not only as a colleague and friend, but also as one of the leading clinical diagnostic bacteriologists
in the country," says Hailu Kinde, interim director of the laboratory. "He was a perfectionist and a person of high integrity
who performed his job with great commitment and pride."
UC-Davis Dean Bennie Osburn says Walker often was able to sit at a microscope and solve difficult cases when routine tests
failed to provide results. Other colleagues lauded him as a good friend and brilliant scientist.
Walker earned his bachelor's degree in microbiology from Colorado State University and received his veterinary medicine degree
from UC-Davis with a master's of preventive medicine and doctorate in comparative pathology. He served as an adjunct professor
of clinical diagnostic bacteriology at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine while working part-time at California veterinary
clinics, and as an assistant professor at the North Carolina State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Walker returned
to UC-Davis in 1988 as an assistant professor of clinical diagnostic bacteriology.
A memorial service was planned this month, but the family asks that memorial donations be sent to the Habitat for Humanity.