Walt “Coach” Klinker, 79, of Lawrence passed away Thursday, September 14, 2017 at Brandon Woods at Alvamar in Lawrence, KS. Walt was born July 9, 1938 in Denver, CO, the son of Leo and Ruth Driscole Klinker. He grew up in Gunnison, CO and later attended the University of Colorado where he started 3 years under center for the Buffs. He earned all-conference and honorable mention All-America honors as a senior in 1961 and was later named the best two-way center in the history of CU football. The Denver Broncos offered him a contract in 1962. Walt chose to be a coach instead and spent the next 41 years coaching the offensive line. His first 3 years at the prep level were spent in CO, and in 1965 he joined the collegiate ranks as an assistant at his alma mater. His coaching career involved Claremont College, University of New Mexico, Fresno State, University of Wyoming, University of Northern Iowa, University of Hawaii, University of Kansas, and Missouri State. Walt always stayed busy and was not cut out for retirement. Following his coaching career he worked for Schlumberger in Lawrence, KS for six years. He “officially” retired in 2011 – and then became a volunteer for Cans for the Community. Walt “the Can Man” Klinker took his job seriously and hauled cans to the recycling center until just months before he passed away.
Walt married Linda Louise Miller on July 6, 1996 in Cedar Falls, IA. She survives of the home. Other survivors include his daughters Heather Klinker, Miami, FL and Holly Allen (Denny), Boulder, CO; son, Kyle Jon Klinker, Edinberg, TX; stepson, Matt (Mina) Gehrke, Philadelphia, PA; stepdaughter, Sarah (Aaron) Welch, Oklahoma City, OK; granddaughter, Christina Dunagan, San Marcos, CA; and brother, Leo Klinker, Montrose, CO.
No formal services are planned. Private gatherings will occur in Boulder, Colorado and Cedar Falls, Iowa. Memorial contributions may be made in Walt’s name to Cans for the Community or a charity of choice and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
Online condolences may be posted at warrenmcelwain.com.