Robert J. “Bob” Walters, 86, of La Salle, passed away peacefully, with family members by his side in St. Anthony Hospital, Rockford, on April 30, 2023. 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!”
Mass of Christian burial will be 11:00 AM Friday, May 05, at St. Patrick’s Church in La Salle with Rev Michael Pica officiating. Visitation will be in the church Friday from 9:00 AM until time of services. Private cemetery service will be at St. Vincent’s Cemetery.
Bob was born in La Salle on February 02, 1937 to George A. Walters and Josephine (Rady) Walters in St. Mary’s Hospital in La Salle. He is survived by his wife, Valerie Ann (Noel) Walters. They were married on July 13, 1959. Three children, Robert Bryon (Frieda) Walters of Mendota, Daniel James Walters of Los Angeles and Katherine Mame Walters of Tuscon, AZ. His sisters Mary Joyce (Bill) Mecum of La Salle and Roberta (Terry) Donahue of La Salle.
Dad was a well know man in the L-P area. He was the “unofficial” north La Salle neighborhood alderman and he held court sessions at numerous area coffee houses. In his early youth he was raised by his aunt Mame on Tonti Street in La Salle. At the age of 15, he had the coveted job of working at Frank’s Cigar Store in La Salle. 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 life long 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, whom 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 60’s, 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 whom 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 life long family friends at the Hurst Funeral Homes. 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.”
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Illinois Valley Animal Rescue.
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