Sept. 10, 1932 - May 15, 2012
On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Robert David "Bob" McPherson of Walla Walla died peacefully in a Portland hospital following complications from Alzheimer's, with his wife, Joan, and daughters Sally and Stacy by his side.
Bob was born in Canadian, Texas, on Sept. 10, 1932, and lived in the Texas panhandle until leaving for college. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout while living in Pampa and served as student body president of Pampa High School. He graduated from Oregon State College (now University) in 1954 with a degree in forest products and was a member of the ROTC and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, serving as fraternity president. At OSC he met the love of his life, Joan Hobart, and they married six days after graduation.
Bob served his country with the U.S. Air Force immediately following college, and he and Joan lived for a time at the Ashiya Air Force Base in Japan. After release from duty he entered the forest products industry, working for Timber Structures, the American Forest Products Association, and Weyerhaeuser Products and living in Portland, Denver, and Bellevue. Bob and his family moved to Walla Walla in 1966, where he later became a partner in Van Petten Lumber Company. He retired in 1997, from his final job as a trust officer with Baker Boyer Bank.
Bob was active in his community, including the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, for which he served as president and represented the Walla Walla club in Seoul, South Korea, in 1989, accompanied by his wife. He served on the boards of the Walla Walla Air Fair, the Walla Walla Community College Foundation, and the Walla Walla Country Club. He also did fundraising for many community organizations, including the YMCA and YWCA, and helped to launch the WW Community College annual basketball tournament. Bob was an early supporter of the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede and was a crew member during its early days. He was also an active member of the First Congregational Church for more than 40 years and served as moderator. Some of his many passions were golf, bridge, poker, reading, traveling, white-water rafting, and listening to country music, especially Willie Nelson. The family frequently gathered at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast, which was also the site of Bob and Joan's honeymoon.
Bob was best known for his ready wit, congenial nature, and willingness to always lend a hand. He told jokes like nobody's business. He was much loved and will be missed by all who knew him.
Despite his commitment to his community, Bob's first love and primary commitment was to his family. He leaves behind his stepmother, Laverne Holcomb, of Amarillo, Texas; his wife, Joan, of 58 years; son Scott (Kathy) of Lake Charles, Louisiana; daughters Sally (Melinda) of Portland and Stacy of Walla Walla; his two much-loved grandchildren, Sally Kay and Robbie McPherson, also of Louisiana; along with several nieces and nephews. Bob was predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Sally Laney McPherson, as well as by his sister and three brothers.
A celebration of Bob's life will be held at the First Congregational Church in Walla Walla on Friday, June 29, at 2 p.m. followed by a reception. A private interment will take place at the Smyrna Congregational Church near Canby, Ore. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Humane Society, the Walla Walla Community College Foundation, or the Alzheimer's Foundation of America through Herring Groseclose Funeral, 315 W. Alder St., Walla Walla, WA 99362.