Robert J. Walters
LaSALLE – Robert J. “Bob” Walters, 86, of LaSalle, passed away peacefully on April 30, 2023, with family members by his side at St. Anthony Hospital, Rockford.
Catholic Mass was held on Friday, May 5, at St. Patrick’s Church in LaSalle. Mass was led by Father Pica Michael. Readings were spoken by his son Daniel. Graveside services were held at St. Vincent’s Cemetery, near most of his passed family members. A luncheon was held by his lifelong friend Harold Witek, and Mary, at the Paramount Club in LaSalle.
Bob was born in LaSalle on Feb. 2, 1937, to George A. Walters and Josephine (Rady) Walters at St. Mary’s Hospital. He married Valerie Ann Noel on July 13, 1959.
He is survived by his wife, Valerie Ann; three children, Robert Bryon (Frieda) Walters of Mendota, Daniel James Walters of Los Angeles and Katherine Mame Walters of Tucson, Ariz.; his sisters, Mary Joyce (Bill) Mecum of LaSalle and Roberta (Terry) Donahue of LaSalle.
Bob fell in the church parking lot and had broken his hip. In his humorous and direct way he declared, “the broken hip won’t kill me but the ensuing infections and nursing home borne illnesses will!”
Dad was a well-known man in the L-P area. He was the “unofficial” north LaSalle neighborhood alderman and he held court sessions at numerous area coffee houses. In his youth he was raised by his grandma Rady and his beloved aunt Mame, both which lived in different homes on Tonti Street in LaSalle. At the age of 15 he had the coveted job of working at Frank’s Cigar Store in LaSalle. After serving hard ice cream there all day, Frank would let him read all the newspapers on the racks. He read them all, particularly the sports papers. He became a lifelong Chicago Cubs, Bears and Bulls fan. Dad had an encyclopedic memory of his sports team. He and uncles Joe and “Frickie” Rady would have in-depth discussions on their baseball teams. It was rarified air to be in the company of those three. In dad’s last full day with us he was greeted by his favorite nephew Jake, from Rockford, who was wearing his brilliant blue Cubbies uniform. Dad’s eyes gleamed for several moments. Jake earned his angels wings that evening.
Bob was a modest man, some would say cheap, but he was very earnest in all his ways. As a young boy growing up in the Depression Era, he learned how to get things done. His family was always taken care of and never in need of anything. He was “old school” in that when he received a bill in the mail he would drive downtown the next day to pay it in full. He taught his children the value of hard work, keeping things neat and orderly and saving your earnings. His work ethic was impeccable. From his days as a cook at the Maples Supper Club in the 60s, to a career at Ottawa Bakelite for 15 years, then as a security officer at Illinois Valley Community College for 26 years, there has not been a single recollection of dad ever missing a single day of work, for illness or other, nor was he ever a minute late. Bob’s sarcasm and humor were delightful. He was not a handy man and he couldn’t fix anything! But he knew where to “find a guy who could” and he took care of everyone. He hired neighborhood boys to cut his lawn. Dad would rather be in his kitchen cooking up something and listening to sports on his AM radio, which was his preferred method of following the games. He enjoyed his neighborhood walks, was a voracious reader and was determinant in assembling 1,000-piece jig saw puzzles.
He had the memory of an elephant and could accurately recall events and dates. Bob set the bar high when it came to integrity, honesty, dedication and acts of forgiveness. Through adversities, betrayals and struggles, he taught us to always “take the high road” in life. He dearly cared for animals, the environment and most people. All whom knew him truly enjoyed his presence and kindnesses. The wonderful nurses and assistances at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley all drew close to him and he remembered all of their names and family members.
The family wishes to thank all the kind people at both hospitals. His special neighbor friends Butch and Steve. Also, our lifelong family friends at the Hurst Funeral Homes. Thank you to everyone who contributed to his favorite charity, Illinois Valley Animal Rescue. We love you and will miss you dearly dad and will remember what you would always say, “it’s only the top of the 1st, and we have a long ways to go yet.”