Robert "Bob" Hamilton Walls, Sr., age 89, died peacefully at home on Thursday, the 21st of January 2021, surrounded by his family.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, on the 19th of September 1931, to Mary P. and Hamilton P. Walls, Bob attended Brackenridge High School, excelling in extemporaneous debate and tennis, and was selected as its delegate to Texas Boys State.
Bob enrolled in the Plan II program at The University of Texas at Austin. He worked his way through college, holding down as many as five jobs simultaneously, and since he had no car hitchhiked to and from Austin. His favorite job was tutoring varsity athletes where he developed many lifelong friendships and cemented his love for all University of Texas sports. He was a member of the Oak Grove Co-Op where he excelled in intramural sports and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Texas School of Law where he was a Student Editor of the Texas Law Review and a member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society.
After graduation from law school, Bob joined the United States Army as a member of its First Corps (I Corps), trained at Fort Bliss, deployed to Korea and was stationed at Uijeongbu. Like many of his generation, he talked little about his time in the service until asked – even then, he'd only say it was the coldest he'd ever been.
Upon discharge from the Army, Bob became an Assistant Attorney General in the Texas Attorney General's office in Austin, at a time when the lawyers there were expected to wear Stetsons and boots – as he often said, "A Stetson and a pair of boots – not a bad work uniform!" While at the AG's office he was involved in litigation that extended the State of Texas's offshore boundary and in a number of undercover sting operations in Galveston bars that were serving liquor illegally.
During this time, his good friend B.J. Wolf set him up on a blind date with Anita Hoffman, a bright and spirited schoolteacher from Bastrop. The couple married in 1959 and began their life together in Austin, where their son Robby was born. Soon after, they moved to Houston, where their daughter Kim was born. Bob continued his legal career at Barrow Bland & Rehmet while Anita taught school at Briargrove Elementary. He moved to Vinson & Elkins where he developed an expertise in oil and gas law – he said he loved that field because he admired the entrepreneurial, risk-taking spirit of his oil and gas clients. He eventually went to work with his good friend Wayne Dotson at Foreman & Dyess, and ultimately retired from Jackson & Walker after 51 years of practicing law.
Bob loved his family – he supported his children in everything they did and became involved in their sports and hobbies (from little league and swim meets to rodeos and barrel racing). Many times, his commitment exceeded expectations. He frequently stepped up to perform the jobs no one else would do – these ranged from handling litigation over the construction of the Dads Club 50 meter pool to taking the overnight shift to fill the new pool. At family gatherings and reunions around central Texas, a small group might gather, asking for legal advice about an oil and gas lease, a ranch boundary dispute, or some other ag related issue. Thank you's often came in the form of home-cured bacon, sausage, tamales or a paper bag of cracked pecans.
Bob was known for his intelligence, good humor and integrity as a lawyer, and for his winning smile and unflagging devotion as a husband, father, and grandfather. He had a wonderfully dry sense of humor and he never passed up dessert. He liked John Wayne movies and Johnny Cash songs. He preferred Scotch, fried oysters, and basset hounds. Above all these, he loved Texas football.
His ultimate prize for a life well-lived was Anita, his wife of 61 years. Both loved to travel, enjoyed the casinos in Vegas and Louisiana, and attended countless events of their six grandchildren. Bob made good on a promise tendered to her fifty years prior: in exchange for her attending every Texas home football game, which she did, he agreed to take dancing lessons. He did. And they danced until the fat lady sang.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Hamilton and Mary Walls, his sister Mary Rose Walls, and his daughter-in-law Nancy Ghormley Walls. He is survived by his wife, Anita Hoffman Walls, his son, Robert (Rob) H. Walls, Jr. and wife Laura, his daughter Kimberly Buschlen and husband Peter; by his grandchildren Emily Walls and husband Stephen Maroda, Robert (Robby) H. Walls III and wife Allie, John David Walls, Zachary Buschlen, Katherine Buschlen and Sarah Buschlen; and by his great-nephew Dyron Walls and wife Christina, and great-niece Dee Ann Calderon and husband Alejandro.
The family gathered for a private funeral service and interment at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery in Houston.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers were Peter Buschlen, Zachary Buschlen, Stephen Maroda, Robert H. Walls III, and John David Walls and those honored to serve as honorary pallbearers were Wayne Dotson, David Dunlap and Mike Pearson.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be directed toward The Robert H. and Anita H. Walls Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, University Development Office, P.O. Box 7458, Austin, TX 78713 (http://links.utexas.edu/cvahngj); or to Houston Hospice, 1905 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030 (https://www.houstonhospice.org/donate/).
Please visit Bob's online memorial tribute at GeoHLewis.com where memories and words of comfort and condolences may be shared electronically with his family.