Nov. 2, 1971 — April 25, 2019
The sort of selfless gesture that defined her life provided the first inkling of illness for Corinna Parker (West) Walkowiak.
In August 2017, Mrs. Walkowiak volunteered for medical tests to find out if she could donate part of her liver to a distant relative. Instead, the tests determined that she had colon cancer.
"She was a very giving person, that's just how she was," said her husband, Gregory. "She didn't hesitate."
As she battled the disease with chemotherapy and surgery, Mrs. Walkowiak ran out of sick days, said her husband. Her colleagues in the undergraduate admissions office of SUNY Buffalo State College, where she worked as a secretary since 2009, banded together to offer her 22 more of theirs, he said.
Mrs. Walkowiak, of Cheektowaga, died April 25, 2019, in the Mary and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Hospice Inpatient Unit in Cheektowaga. She was 47.
She was born Nov. 2, 1971, in Fulton, N.Y., the daughter of John E. and Christina Parker. She attended Nyack College, then moved to Western New York. She worked at office jobs in Buffalo and East Aurora, then, in 2009, began working at SUNY Buffalo State.
She and Gregory Walkowiak met about five years ago, he said, at a concert at The Cove — "It was Hit N Run or Boys of Summer, I don't really remember, because the minute we met we talked the whole night," he said. The pair married on April 2.
Before her illness, Mrs. Walkowiak enjoyed hiking. She and her husband visited Daytona, Fla., half a dozen times together, where she enjoyed walking the beach, he said. They toured wineries at Seneca Lake and visited Watkins Glen.
She loved music, favoring country, contemporary Christian and Broadway show tunes, as well as some soft rock, her husband said.
Mrs. Walkowiak enjoyed photographing her travels and her family, especially grandson Silas West. "She took more selfies than anybody you'd ever met," said her husband, and when they moved in together last summer, she brought boxes and boxes of photo albums.
Mrs. Walkowiak was an active member of Fellowship Wesleyan Church in West Seneca. "She had a very strong faith behind her," said her husband. In her youth, she attended a Bible camp in Syracuse. "The church was very important in her life," he said.
She enjoyed some reality TV shows. "She loved 'Survivor,'" her husband said, as well as "Say Yes to the Dress," and the couple enjoyed "American Pickers" together.
Besides her husband, Gregory Walkowiak, and grandson, Mrs. Walkowiak is survived by a son, Derek West; daughter, Kyra West Ruchalski; mother, Christina Brown; sister, Nora Brown; stepchildren, Kelly, Jason and Bradley Walkowiak; stepmother, Melanie Parker; a niece, a nephew and other relatives.
A memorial service will begin at 7 p.m. May 2 in Fellowship Wesleyan Church, 1645 Southwestern Blvd., West Seneca.