Conway shooting victim remembered as playful father

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FRYEBURG (AP) – The 8-year-old girl’s pleas to her dead father jump off the computer screen:

“Dear Daddy I miss you, I don’t get to play pingpong with you any more. I wish that I could hug you.”

“DAD WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER ME!”

“DAD I MISS YOU SO MUCH!”

Alex Walker is one of dozens of mourners expressing their grief on a Web site dedicated to James Walker, of Denmark, who was killed less than two weeks ago at the outdoors store he managed in Conway, N.H.

Walker and two customers, William Jones, 25, of Walpole, Mass., and Gary Jones, 23, Halifax, Mass., were shot July 2 at the Army Barracks store. Michael Woodbury, 31, of Windham, has admitted several times that he shot and killed the men in a botched robbery. He said he plans to plead guilty to three counts of first degree murder.

Alex, Walker’s daughter with his former wife, checks the Web site several times a day looking for new condolence messages about her father, said Tessa Walker, James Walker’s widow.

“It’s a big part of helping us get through this,” said Tessa Walker, who had a son, Rudy, with James Walker.

Online and in person, people are reaching out to help Walker’s children. The Army Barracks company, which Tessa Walker also works for, set up a donation fund for Rudy and Alex.

And about 200 people attended Walker’s funeral July 7 in Fryeburg, where he was remembered as a playful and devoted father and husband.

“He loved to laugh at his own jokes,” said Ellen Raynsford, Tessa Walker’s aunt. “He would say to Tessa, ‘Aren’t you going to laugh?’ And she would always reply, ‘When you say something funny.”‘

Raynsford said Walker enjoyed his job at the Army Barracks store, which sold military, outdoors gear and paintball supplies, because he could “play with toys all day.”

Above all, Walker was there for his family, Raynsford said.

“He wanted his children to go to college, and he was always planning on how he could make that a reality,” she said. “He wanted his family to be taken care of. His dream was to grow old with Tessa, knowing he had provided a safe and secure future for the both of them and his family.”

Walker grew up in Tamworth, N.H.

“My brother was a good man, a caring father and he loved Tessa deeply,” Adam Walker said.

A cousin read a letter Tessa Walker wrote to her husband.

“All I keep thinking about are the plans we had made and everything you’re going to miss. You won’t be there to teach Rudy baseball. You won’t be there when he loses his first tooth or rides his first bike. You won’t see Alex graduate high school, or be there to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. The kids will never go to a football game with you. And I will never hear your laugh again,” the letter read.

“But when I look at our son, and remember all the good time we’ve had, I can’t feel sorry for myself. We had happiness and love. We laughed far more often than we cried. And even though our time together was cut short, I feel lucky to have had you in my life. You will always be a part of me and I will always love you.”

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