Tuesday August 8, 2023, a bright light and dazzling beautiful smile left us for the spiritual life she envisioned since she was a small child. Kathleen Tyler Walker accidentally drowned during her nightly swim in the pool of her family beach house. It was a favorite spot for quiet contemplation, exhilarating dance parties, and water sports. Other favorite places were the woods surrounding her home, and any sunset shared with her Dad. She loved all things outdoors but especially forest trails, the beach, flowers, skiing in the mountains, rain storms, all dogs, ice cream trucks, and dancing. Music, fairy tales, and Emerson were also passions. She was 36 years old and had traveled to 46 states and over 20 countries.
Tyler loved James River Day School from kindergarten through eight grade. She was always an excellent student and particularly enjoyed Dance, Theater, and earlier, Ballet at The Fine Arts Center where she was Clara in The Nutcracker. She attended Virginia Episcopal School and Jefferson Forest High School. Dickinson College was her first choice, and she treasured her time there until she had to come home for treatment of en Coup d’Sabre. Tyler graduated from Randolph College in 2012 with a double major in Sociology and Human Services, concentrations in politics and Art History. Working with victims of sexual assault and refugees was her calling. Her memory was uncanny as Tyler never forgot a face, an idea, or an experience. After traveling, she moved to New York City, a place she called home for several years. Tyler was an active volunteer there through the New York Junior League and at St. Bart’s Episcopal Church.
Church was core for Tyler. As a youth she was very involved in missions, hunger programs, and was head Acolyte for two years. Her spiritual life was shown by her unusual kindnesses and her innate recognition that she is a part of the natural world and its glory.
Tyler loved her family intensely and leaves her parents, Diane Matthews Walker and William M. Walker, forever grateful for the light of her life. She is also survived by her sisters Alexandra Lewis Walker Wechter and Todd Walter Wechter of Portsmouth, NH, Ann Christian Walker Hooper and Kevin Davis Hooper; Elizabeth McKenzie Walker Johnson; and William McKenzie Walker, Jr., and Karen Stockmeyer Walker, all of Lynchburg. She will also be greatly missed by her grandmother, Shirley M. Matthews, and her nieces and nephews; William Strother Johnson, McKenzie Scott Johnson, Elizabeth Ann Hooper, Katherine Stewart Johnson, and William George Hooper. Tyler’s uncle, James Stanley Matthews and his wife, Amy, of Dallas Texas and their children, Macy Renee Matthews, and Campbell Caroline Matthews are also survivors. Tyler considered her four male cousins to be almost siblings. They will be Pallbearers and are Zachary Arthur Matthews, and Karly Bilotta Matthews; and Casey Alexander Matthews, all of Charlottesville. Christopher Matthews Rhodes and Ellen Rowe Rhodes of Parksley, VA; and Benjamin Lewis Rhodes and Lucy Smith Rhodes of Hayes, VA. Tyler loved young children and will be watching over John Irving Wechter, Harper Grace Matthews, Beau Richard Rhodes, and Layla Jane Matthews. She is also leaving cousins David Chandler Walker, Stewart Ramsey Walker, and George C Walker III, Shawnya Schweiger Walker, and Madison Elizabeth Walker.
Tyler was preceded in death by her beloved uncle, Jonathan Arthur Matthews who was a constant coach and cheerleader, her aunt, Cynthia Leigh Matthews Rhodes who fostered a knowledge and love of animals, and her grandfather, John Snyder Matthews who she adored.
We mourn her early death and the memories to be made. But we have lasting memories of Tyler with her spontaneous, bright, and compelling smile. We will be celebrating her life Friday, August 11,2023 at St. John’s Episcopal Church with a eucharist and reception at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Amazement Square Tyler Walker Volunteer Program where she volunteered off and on for years and was integral in many of the early exhibit designs.
We thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg is assisting the family. To send condolences, please visit www.tharpfuneralhome.com.