Robert “Bob” Walker passed away on July 22, 2023, peacefully and surrounded by his loving family. Bob lived 89 full and adventurous years.
He was born in Denver, Colorado, on August 5, 1933, and grew up on the eastern plains of Colorado in Hugo. He got his incredible work ethic from his grandmother, Leopoldine Emmerling, who raised nine children during very difficult times. Bob loved his family in Hugo, and every member of the large Emmerling family was very special to him.
Bob was admitted to Colorado State University on a football scholarship. When his football coach told him to choose between football and engineering, he left CSU and went back to Hugo to work in construction to make enough money to pay for college and then graduated in 1956. Bob met the love of his life Bonnie from Castle Rock on a blind date in 1954, and they married on September 1, 1956.
Like so many of their generation, Bob and Bonnie embraced the military calling, and Bob began his service at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Bob and Bonnie spent three wonderful years at Edwards meeting people who would become lifelong friends. After Bob completed his military commitment, Bob and Bonnie moved to Phoenix, Arizona, for Bob’s first full-time job at an aerospace corporation, Rocket Power Corporation.
Five years later, his first two children, Jim and Diane, had been born, and his second daughter, Lisa, was on the way. Undaunted, Bob and two partners launched their own venture, Space Data Corporation. Through dedicated hard work, Space Data succeeded due to its state-of-the-art rocket products and responsive customer service.
Bob had many mentors in his early days of establishing his own business. Bob loved the advice of one mentor who told him that in order to succeed in business he needed to “take in more than you pay out”.
After selling Space Data Corporation to his employees, Bob pursued many other business ventures including Bounty Hunter (a metal detector manufacturer), Turf Paradise (the thoroughbred horse racing track in Phoenix), and Flagg Ranch (a Wyoming resort between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park).
Bob loved problem-solving, adventure, and action. He was curious, hard-working, and always enjoyed taking on a new project.
Throughout his long and ambitious life, Bob relied on the constant and never-failing support of his wife, Bonnie, who survives him along with his son, Jim (Michelle) of Denver, Colorado, daughter, Lisa (Jeff) of Princeton, New Jersey, and his grandchildren, Kurt (Kaitlin), Alex (Melissa), Brittney (Will), Emma, and Nick, and great-grandchildren, Kennedy, Blakely, Matthew, and Jamie.
A funeral Mass will take place on Friday, August 25, 2023, at 9:00 am at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012, with burial to follow at 11:00 am at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 North Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ 85024. The Walker family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Donations can be made online at stvincentdepaul.net by clicking the donate button and clicking the tribute gift in memory of Robert Walker or mailed to St. Vincent de Paul, P.O. Box 13600, Phoenix, AZ 85002. Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com.