Robert (Bob) H. Waller, Jr., 77, of Cleveland, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 at Bolivar Medical Center. A visitation and funeral service was held on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, at Ray Funeral Home in Cleveland with Rev. James Lewis Kellum Jr. and Father Kent Bowlds officiating. A burial followed at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Clarksdale under the direction of Ray Funeral Home.
Bob was born in Clarksdale on April 8, 1942, to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Harvey Waller, Sr. He graduated from Clarksdale High School in 1960. While in high school, “Bobby” served as class president of his freshman and senior class, captain of the Pioneer Band, a member of the President’s Council, and vice president of the student body. In the 11th grade, he earned the Mary Lou Sherard Award, the P.T.A. Good Citizenship Award and went to Boys’ State. He also served on the “Mr. and Miss CHS” homecoming court that year, ranked No. 2 in his class academically and won the American History Award. In his senior year, he ranked #3 out of a class of 127 students and was appointed to the HALL OF FAME.
After high school, Bob earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with an emphasis in Math from Mississippi College in 1964 and got a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Mississippi soon after. He first served as a Math instructor at the University of Mississippi and then began teaching at Delta State University in 1969 to 2005. He also served as an adjunct teacher for Delta State University teaching College Algebra at Bayou Academy until 2013. His career culminates in over 40 years of teaching in higher education.
While teaching, Bob made significant contributions to the Mathematics Department at Delta State. For example, Bob worked with one of his colleagues to purchase the very first computer at Delta State, a Radio Shack TRS-80. He also worked on a small grant to purchase a number of programmable calculators, the Texas Instrument TI-85, which could be used by students during class. Bob expressed many times over the years how much he loved computers and calculators, and he could often be found in his little workshop at home in Cleveland smoking his pipe and solving math problems for fun.
As a young man, Bob enjoyed outdoor recreation and participated in the Boy Scouts, enjoyed chess, camping, canoeing and worked as a lifeguard for the Clarksdale Municipal Pool and the Clarksdale Country Club. He also enjoyed many hours outdoors on a variety of golf courses all over the Delta for many years playing golf. He often told stories about his “hole in 1” claim to fame and the many characters he met in his lifetime. Bob also enjoyed dancing, playing cards, and having a drink with his wide variety of friends at the Cleveland Country Club over the years.
He is preceded in death by his father, Mr. Robert Harvey Waller, Sr. of Tutwiler, who served in World War II and was listed as Missing in Action (MIA) in October 1943; his mother, Mrs. Marion Blanche Wagner Waller Skelton, formerly of Clarksdale, and his stepfather, Mr. B.J. “Billy” Skelton of Jackson. Bob is survived by his wife of 45 years, Mary Helen Montesi Waller; daughters, Jen Waller (Paul Pearson) of Clarksdale; Tara Waller Wooley (Terry) of Olive Branch; step-daughter, Caroline Crawford Laster (David) of Cleveland; sister, Marion Deborah Skelton of Jackson; brother, Dana W. Skelton (Sherry) of Terrell, Texas; great-aunt, Pat Wagner McCandliss of Indianola; great-uncle, Robert Wagner of California; and grandsons, Tanner Wooley, Jon-Albert Wooley, and Crawford Laster.
The pallbearers included Burrow “Bucky” Brooks, Jimmy Childers, H.L. Dilworth, David Laster, Tanner Wooley, Terry Wooley, Bill Coleman and Paul Pearson. Honorary Pallbearers included Jon-Albert Wooley, Crawford Laster, Frank Branch, Bobby Cirilli, Bill Coleman, Danny Kellum, Al Parrish, and Bobby Rawlinson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Delta State University, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital or a charity of your choice.