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Longtime Ohio firefighter loses battle with brain cancer

Springfield Firefighter Tristan J. Walker went through surgery, oral chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments


Firefighter Tristan J. Walker (Springfield Fire Rescue Division/Facebook)

By Brooke Spurlock
Springfield News-Sun

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — A longtime Springfield Fire Rescue Division firefighter who had retired nearly two years ago died over the weekend.

Tristan J. Walker, 43, of Springfield, was with family on Sunday at her home when she died after her battle with brain cancer.

“Tristan fought a long hard battle with brain cancer, always remaining positive and in good spirits. She will forever be known for extending kindness and her willingness to help others,” her obituary stated.

Walker was diagnosed in 2004 with a mixed glioma in the left frontal lobe of her brain, according to a GoFundMe made by her in 2015. She had surgery, oral chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments.

When she went back for her 10-year “clean” scan, the tumor had come back and started growing in the tissue adjacent to her previous surgery area. She was then diagnosed with grade 2 oligoastrocytoma, and she went through another surgery and chemotherapy for 18 months.

She had returned to work at the Springfield fire department but eventually had to retire after her cancer came back.

Walker was a firefighter for 18 years with the city of Springfield, at Station 1, and retired in 2021, according to her obituary. She graduated from Bethel High School in 1998 and attended Antioch College. She also loved being outdoors and enjoyed camping, hiking, biking and climbing.

Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Smith said Walker was either the third or fourth female firefighter hired by the SFRD.

“I never worked directly with Tristan, but her reputation was a very hardworking, cheerful person,” he said.

The Springfield Fire Rescue Division took to Facebook to announce Walker’s passing and noted there will be a Celebration of Life at the Firefighters Clubhouse at a later date.

“As many of you already know, Tristan lost her long battle with cancer on Sunday morning,” the post said. “Tristan J. Walker was appointed to the Springfield Fire Rescue Division on March 3, 2003 and retired on November 1, 2019, with her last assignment at Station 1.”

Several people took to the post to comment about Walker and her impact.

“She was a fighter and I never heard her complain one time!!! She was respected by all and always had a smile on her face. Rest easy sister!!,” Clay Atkins commented.

“I never saw her angry. She was always in a good mood and eager to learn something new. She was a true professional. I’m honored to have spent time with her on Rescue 1,” said Doug Buffenbarger.

“Tristan was my preceptor during my Medic clinical! Amazing human and even better teacher,” commented Misty Stevens.

Walker is survived by her parents, Marilyn and Leary Walker; her wife, Amy Sherrock; two children, Matthew M. and Jonathan M. Sherrock; siblings, Angela Delver, Hobie Adams, Jewel Jackson and Buster Grubb; her fire department family; and several nieces and nephews, according to her obituary.

Services for Walker will be set at a later date. In the meantime, family and friends can leave memories and pictures on her obituary page on the Littleton & Rue website.

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