Olaf William Walters

Olaf William Walters

December 5, 1961 -January 17, 2024

Olaf (aka “Oly” or “Bud”) William Walters, age 62, passed away January 17, 2024 at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, AK. 

He was born December 5, 1961 in Nome, AK to Blanche and John Walters.

He suffered a heart attack on December 26, 2023 while waiting to be seen at the Nome hospital for severe stomach pains. He was revived and medivaced to Anchorage.  Olaf’s strength and determination to keep living was astounding. During those three weeks when he was alert enough for short periods, his sense of humor and caring for others was apparent to family and friends that visited.

Olaf lived his best life how he wanted. He was a strong, stubborn and independent man. He fought extremely hard until the end. Not rich with material things, Olaf displayed from his heart a genuine richness of joy, humor, kindness, caring, and compassion to others, no matter what life people lived.

Olaf worked as a carpenter after high school, as a laborer for the City of Nome, as a waste/garbage handler, as a mechanic/equipment operator for local miners, and as a hazardous waste removal handler.

His greatest skills and talents were as an artist and ivory/bone/baleen carver.  Many of his works are displayed in homes throughout Alaska.  He had an exceptional eye for art at a very young age and although he had no formal training; his work was sought after for its uniqueness and exceptional detail.

One of his last acts of kindness and respect was a beautiful photo he purchased, and hand delivered to XYZ Senior Center for the Elders on December 23, 2023. His gift for the Elders to appreciate is a stunning photo called the “Sky Blue Pink” Experience, an early sunrise photo of Denali (the great one) in full view with a beautiful blue and pink sky all reflecting off Reflection Pond.

Olaf was greeted in Heaven by his parents John and Blanche Walters, his brothers Eric and George Walters, Michael, Lonnie, and Jerry O’Connor, and Bugs, his longtime dog companion.

He is survived by his son, Walter Analoak and three grandchildren of Anchorage; sisters Noreene Cooper of Anchorage and Lorena Hegdal of Fairbanks; brothers Robert O’Connor of Nome and John Fern of Mesa, Arizona; and dear cousin Janet Trigg of Nome.  He has many nieces and nephews and friends from throughout Alaska that will miss him dearly. 

Thank you all for your prayers and condolences, and sharing memories and photos of Olaf, aka Nome’s Gnome, the extraordinaire Official Flagger, Oly, Olaf the snowman. He is now a kind and compassionate Angel watching over all of us from up above.  If you have any other photos of Olaf or his amazing artwork, please post them on Facebook under his niece Kimberly O’Connor Gooden’s post regarding his passing.  Also a huge thank you to our niece, Kimberly O’Connor Gooden, who was there for Olaf over the past few years helping with his health issues, cancer follow-up, and housing – she did it all!

A celebration of life will be sometime in the summer of 2024 and we will provide a notice when the time and place is confirmed.




The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112


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