Obituary of Robert Leroy Walston
WALSTON, Robert Leroy
97, passed away peacefully on June 10, 2019, in the presence of his devoted wife of 78 years, Wanda, and daughters, Cheryl (Ron) Wiener and LaDonna Leonard.
The beloved patriarch of the family, Bob is also survived by 4 grandchildren, Mindy Wiener (NC), Andrea (Scott) Rubin (Scottsdale), Ben (Amy) Hunt (MO), Jeff (Ingrid) Wiener (NV), 8 great-grandchildren, Chrissy, Brenden, Jayden, Cole, Amelia, Evan, Raigan Joy, Jasper, great-great-grandson Dawson, & many nieces & nephews. He was predeceased by his parents. Perry & Tekla Walston, and all his siblings, Oliver, Wilber 'Jess', Ella Shaner, Everett 'Buster', & Laura Brossia.
Bob was born on the family 200 acre farm in Pemberville, OH on September 2, 1921. It was there that he learned his work ethics that anything worth doing was worth doing properly & to the best of your ability. While working on the family farm, he realized the gratification of toiling in the fields & reaping the benefits of all his hard work. He also became a self taught "jack of all trades' & a 'MacGyver' of his time as he had to keep all the farm equipment & vehicles running & all buildings in good shape with basically what they had on hand.
While in high school Bob enjoyed all subjects, but particularly one known then as manual training and today as wood shop. Having a creative nature he made many interesting items from black walnut that was plentiful around the farm.
While working at Tiedke's department store in Toledo, he spotted an attractive girl working the lunch counter there. When Wanda Harrison saw him driving his canary yellow 1936 Pontiac convertible she had to say yes to his offer for a ride home! Five months later they were married on January 25, 1941.
Bob was in the Civil Air Patrol & was a proud WWII vet. He started in the 99th Infantry & transferred to the Army Air Corp.
In 1951 they followed Wanda's family to Southern CA with their 2 beautiful young daughters, Cheryl & LaDonna. They settled in Lakewood, CA. where their happy home was always open to neighbors & classmates throughout the school years as a safe & fun Hangout. Bob was a district manager for the Pepsi Cola company until finally realizing his real passion was working with the soil! He started his own very successful & award winning landscaping business.
In 1968 they built their retirement home in Big Bear City in the San Bernadino mountains. Using one of his unique skills, Bob was able to "water witch" their property for their water source! Making the 250 mile round trip nearly every weekend, he handily finished the carpentry work himself including the lathe turning of the many spindles used for the stairway and loft. The wooden fireplace mantle and kitchen bar top were works of art!
Following 3 years of retirement in the mountains, in 1976 they relocated to Sierra Vista, AZ where they built a ranch style home on 2 1/2 acres. Here again he used his talent of water witching! This home was again a testament to Robert's meticulous Virgo nature, showcasing again numerous accomplishments of his own woodworking. Of course he had a huge, beautiful, & abundant garden, as well as the most incredibly landscaped front yard with a lawn big enough for family croquet games.
They were ecstatic to learn that a new Catholic "mission" Church was going to be built very close to their home. Actually, Walston Lane was so named as it abutted their property & was their path to get to the church property. They promptly got involved as Chairmen of the steering committee & wore many hats during the planning, groundbreaking, building, & eventual opening of what is now Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church. They stayed active in the parish until moving to Tucson Estates over 30 years ago. Yes, all the grounds around their home were impeccably groomed. He even had two bonsai olive trees & a uniquely trimmed palo verde tree. He really enjoyed living right on the golf course so they could enjoy the green grass & not have to tend to it.
To escape the summer heat, they spent 7 summers in a second home in Show Low. There, Bob would gather interesting pieces from the forest and come up with "woodsy creations"which were acceptable as gifts and readily sold at various art and gift stores in & around that area, including Kiva ladders, walking sticks, shelving, chairs & benches.
During his time in Tucson, he built & spent all his spare hours working in a well-equipped workshop at their home. While honing his skills he joined the Tucson Woodworkers group. He enjoyed mentoring, sharing his knowledge & skills as well as learning from other members. His original artwork, including bowls in all shapes & sizes, made from solid, native & exotic woods from all parts of the world, have been sold in galleries in Tubac & Cave Creek. Many of his pieces have been given as gifts, treasured by all who received them, especially family members as they are cherished heirlooms.
Unfortunately, Bob had to give up this passion as his strength & health declined. Great-grandson, Jayden, shared his soda tab chain that he was making & showed "Bobpa" how to start one, too. It became his new passion! One chain is over 300' . It definitely kept his hands & mind busy & he enjoyed the attention of sharing his unique hobby.
Last year, due to failing health, they chose to move to Mountain View Retirement Village, assisted care. They said it was the smartest move they made but wished they had done it 10 years sooner!
He loved his family, God, and country passionately.
He will be remembered by all who knew him as a warm, kind, caring & loving gentleman. He was a true inspiration to all, as he showed & lived what real love really is & should be. He & Wanda were inseparable during most of their 78 years together. They cherished every minute together even if it was just holding hands in front of the tv. They didn't want to waste even a second as it could be their last. Their song & eventual motto, chosen when they were dating, still holds true to the present day, "Only Forever" (by Bing Crosby). Especially on anniversaries, he would serenade his "Pretty Girl" singing their song with his beautiful singing voice.
He was admired as a true & model family man. His pride & joy & riches were his precious wife, daughters and all his family.
The family wishes to extend our deepest gratitude to the caregivers & staff at Mountain View, Caremore, and ALL the Emblem Hospice team who worked with him & us. You all not only cared for him--you honestly CARED. We can't thank you enough for your help, guidance and concern & friendship, every step of the way.
We are confident that he is at rest in God's loving arms, and tending to His heavenly gardens.