DALLAS — An already grieving Waxahachie community was dealt a second heartbreak Monday evening.
Just as most were settling in to watch the citywide fireworks, it was learned that Zane Walker, a 2017 Waxahachie High School graduate, had passed away in a car accident on the evening of Monday, July 3. Though the details of the crash are still unknown as of press time, it comes less than a week after the community learned of a single-car accident that claimed the life of 2014 WHS salutatorian, Caleb Neal, and his cousin in Kansas on Friday, June 30.
"We are beyond heartbroken by the loss of our Zane. So many friends and family have reached out to us, and we want to thank you," wrote Stacey Walker, Zane's mother, on Facebook Wednesday afternoon. "It has meant so much to know all the lives he touched and how much love, prayers, and support we have from all of you. Zane absolutely loved life and lived it to the fullest. Please join us in celebrating Zane."
The visitation for Walker will be held at the Avenue Church in Waxahachie on Saturday, July 8 at noon. The funeral service will follow at 2 p.m. According to the Walkers, there is a memorial fund set up at Citizens National Bank. Those interested in donating need to reference the Zane Walker Memorial Fund.
While attending WHS, Walker was a three-year letterman on the Waxahachie Indian soccer team. Head boys coach Seth Riley remembers Walker as being one who brought "so much fun and laughter to practice."
"He would hurry to finish our offseason workouts well before others had time to complete them and he was just as competitive when taking his shower after practice and being done and dressed before everyone too," recalled Riley. "He had at least one question that he had to ask at practice, and one of my favorite memories came this year from Zane."
Riley told the story that unfolded on this year's senior night held at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium. During the senior introductions, when most players listed awards won, future college homes or favorite Indian memories on their biographies, Riley recalled Walker's sheet standing out a little more than the rest.
Walker said his favorite memory as an Indian soccer player was "scoring a goal on senior night," which Riley remembered drew a huge laugh from the crowd as the public address announcer read the card.
It turns out, however, that Walker was a bit of a fortune teller, too.
"Well, with us up 2-0 over Lancaster during the game, we were awarded a penalty kick," Riley said. "As soon as it was awarded, the entire bench got up and started grinning and [his] fellow seniors on the field began noticed, too, as Zane slowly crept in the direction of the penalty and gave me that look! I knew I had only one choice and that was to let him take the kick."
The ball found the back of the net for the only goal Walker scored as a member of the Indian soccer team.
"It was a special moment, with a special and one-of-a-kind kid who we all love and are appreciative of the times we had the chance to spend with him," Riley added.
Noel Harris, a WISD elementary teacher and Optimist Pool manager, shared Riley's sentiment on a Thursday morning Facebook post.
Harris also recalled Walker and his love for always being prepared with a question and love for laughter. She added that when she took over of the whistle of the neighborhood pool for the summer to boss around "a bunch of goofy teenagers" that "I didn't know what God had in store for me."
"I had the role of being Zane's boss, but I had the privilege of becoming his friend and a huge fan," Harris wrote. "It's amazing the bonds that can be formed from 10-14-hour-a-day shifts over a couple of months in the sun.
"I will miss everything about this young man, especially his drive, spirit, humor, fearlessness, questions, smile, laugh and determination. Everyone that knew him also knew greatness. What an amazing person taken from us to soon. I am so lucky to have known Zane Walker, but heaven is even luckier."