Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Robert Walton


June 13, 2019

Robert Walton

Robert Walton

Robert (Bob) Lee Walton of St. John, Wash., passed away May 20, 2019, after a brief illness.

Bob was born April 24, 1934 in Tacoma, Wash., to Leroy and Edna Walton Sr. He was a gifted musician who mastered several instruments, played in a band and enjoyed music throughout his life.

As a teenager, Bob joined the Tacoma Mountaineers and became part of a group of renowned climbers including Jim and Lou Whittaker and Leroy Ritchie. Together they climbed most of the peaks in the Pacific Northwest. In 1958, Bob was a member of the team that made the first ascent of the South Mowich Glacier Icefall and Tahoma Sickle on the West Wall of Mt. Rainier, a route seldom used due to its technical difficulty and dangerous terrain. Following graduation from Stadium High School, Bob served in the Coast Guard, spending time on an ice cutter in the Arctic.

In 1957, he married Rosemary "Robin" Fogarty and started a family. Bob began painting in his 30's. In a matter of a few years, he became an accomplished full-time western artist, with his paintings appearing in galleries, art shows, and private collections throughout the United States, including an original painting on display in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C and a 6,356 square foot mural in Heppner, Ore.

In 2012, he lost his wife Robin after 55 years of marriage. In 2015, he married artist Elizabeth (Betty) Jean Billups.

Bob enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting and the outdoors, which he loved to paint until his final days.

Bob was preceded in death by his wife Robin and his brother Leroy Walton Jr. He is survived by his wife Betty; daughters: Cynthia (Alan) Blumenshein of St. John, Wash., Stephanie (Nicholas) Hetrick of McKinleyville, Cali., Marcie Ballard of Port Angeles, Wash.; eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. While no longer with us, Robert's spirit and love of the mountain peaks he once climbed is captured in his art, which will continue to bring joy to us all.

Remembrances may be made in the form of donations to: Youth Art Scholarships at the Fred Oldfield Western Heritage and Art Center, P.O. Box 1539, Puyallup, WA, 982711.


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