Robert James Waller III (Bob or Bobby) of Lakeland, Fl, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family, on August 19, 2021. Bob was 78 years old and lived a full and wonderful life indeed. He was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but lived the majority of his life in Lakeland, FL.
Bob grew up in a wonderful family and family was everything to him. Bob was very close with his grandmother (Dee Dee), his mother and Father (Bob and Ethel) – as well as his two brothers (Binky and Tommy) and two sisters (Susy and Sally). Bob was also very close to his cousins Jimmy, Elliott, and Joe – who lived right down the street and were not only cousins – but his good friends. They were a close-knit family and stayed close throughout his life. As the oldest of 5, Bob always did his best to set the standard within the family – by working hard, helping out whenever he was needed, and providing a sense of humor and energy which was contagious to all those around him.
Bob met Linda, his wife, when he was only 15. Linda was the Love of his life, and they were married for 55 amazing years and together a total of 62 years. Bob and Linda built a wonderful life together – having three children together (Becky, Jimmy, and Brian) and providing a happy and loving home. Bob and Linda were the perfect couple – Bob fell in love with Linda at first sight and was completely devoted to her – they truly had a wonderful life together. In addition to marrying Linda, Bob also became very close to her family (George, Lea, Bobby, and Don). He had wonderful friendships with brothers-in-law Bobby Miller and Don Miller that became more meaningful as time went on.
Bob was an Army and National Guard Veteran. He graduated with a degree from the University of Florida in 1967 and lived and worked in Atlanta and Tampa for several years successfully in the commercial art field. He then joined Waller Construction in 1971, worked humbly as a Carpenter, Foreman, Project Manager – eventually becoming President in 1985 – leading Waller Construction until his retirement in 2006. While at Waller Construction, Bob pioneered new divisions within the company, including Insurance Restoration, Roofing, and Real Estate Investment. He also expanded the office, warehousing, and overall size of the company. Under Bob’s leadership the company reached new heights. Bob felt very fortunate to work with his brother and partner – Tom Waller, as well as Bob Baker – his brother-in-law and good friend who did so much for Bob and for the company.
In addition to having entrepreneurial success, Bob was equally interested in the people he worked with and worked for. Bob treated his fellow employees and clients like family – and by doing so he was able to not only create a successful business – but a truly special place to work for everyone around him. While working at Waller Construction, Bob formed special friendships with Mike Birkler, Tom Pfister, and Rob Gibson – and continued to see them weekly up until the time of his passing.
Bob had a passion for sports and was always involved in his children’s athletics in various aspects – coaching, providing a ride to practice/games, sponsoring teams, etc. Bob was so thrilled to see Jimmy play college football – and so proud. Bob was also a big Florida Gator football fan – holding season tickets for over 25 years. Bob, once an avid runner with knee problems, switched to walking as his chief form of exercise – and for 35 years could be seen walking all over Lakeland. In addition to sports, Bob enjoyed traveling, history, reading, and watching Westerns – particularly if John Wayne was the star.
Bob Later in life was blessed with 9 tremendous grandchildren Bob was the consummate Grandfather. He would attend as many of his grandchildren’s events as possible and was so proud of each grandchild and all of their many successful accomplishments.
Linda and Bob attended both St Joseph and Resurrection Church in Lakeland and were married at St Joseph as well.
Bob will forever be loved and survived by his three children, Becky Waller, Jimmy Waller (Shannon), and Brian Waller (Maribel) of Lakeland; his brother Tom Waller (Eleanor) of Lakeland; his sister (Susy Waller) of Sarasota; his sister (Sally Baker) of Lakeland and his 9 grandchildren (Jered, George, Julianne, Jorge, Gabe, Brooke, Morgan, Addison, and Jack). Bob was preceded in his death by loving wife Linda Waller, his first son Donald Waller, his parents Robert J Waller (Bob Jr) and Ethel Waller of Lakeland, and his brother Jim (Binky) Waller of Lakeland. “…for they shall see and they shall be radiant.” Isaiah 60:5
A special note of thanks to Bob’s amazing caregivers: Rufena, Vicki, Magalie, and Marie. We will always remember how dedicated, devoted, and compassionate each of you were to not only Bob, but to all of our family.
A Celebration of Life will be held at St Joseph Catholic Church of Lakeland on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. There is a visitation at 9:30 a.m. followed by the Eulogies/Mass service which will start at 10 a.m.. A Celebration of Life lunch reception will be held directly after the Mass at the Lone Palm Golf Club at 800 Lone Palm Drive, Lakeland – followed by the burial service for the family at Oak Hill Burial Park on Bartow Highway. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.