Published in Dallas
Morning News from April 30 to May 1, 2011
Walker, Bob Bob Walker
was born September 21, 1924, joining his brother Bill and parents William
Dedrick Walker and Ann Harrold Peevey in Satin, Texas.
Blessed with a hard-working farmer father and education-oriented mother,
he learned attributes that took him off the farm and well beyond.
He honed his fielding and baseball skills bouncing a tennis ball off the
steps of his home, and when he arrived at Texas A&M those skills earned
him a place on the baseball team, where he beat out a scholarship player
and earned a letter. His discipline and application won him the Best-Drilled
Cadet award over many with more fortunate backgrounds.
The army sent him to the Baylor College of Dentistry before he graduated,
and during his dental training he met the beautiful and charming Emily
Jo Berger, whom he married in 1947.
One season of minor league ball for the Tulsa Oilers convinced him that
dentistry was a more reliable form of employment.
After dental school he started a practice in Waco. The Army recalled him
during the Korean War, and his baseball skills led to assignment at Brooke
Army Hospital in San Antonio, site of an Army team. It was there that
he was introduced to oral surgery, the specialty that became his passion
for the rest of his life.
After his service, he completed the required didactic year of training
for oral surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and then began residency
at Southwestern Medical School and Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
After his residency he took over the lead of the oral surgery division
at Southwestern Medical School and began working with others transforming
He was Chairman of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center until 1984 and continued
working in the department until his death. He particularly loved to teach
his skills to the interns and residents of the program, and was revered
as a mentor to generations of oral surgeons who came to be called the
Parkland Alums, a network of former residents across the country that
included many department chairs.
His contributions to his profession extended internationally, where he
was involved from the beginning in 1962 in the formation of the International
Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, later serving as its president,
and, along with Emily, he thoroughly enjoyed seeing their friends from
around the world at the biannual meetings.
He had a particular interest in developing the specialty in South America,
where he and Emily made many trips, attending meetings, giving lectures,
and providing training. A number of his residents came from South America,
where they returned to pass on their new skills.
He and Emily counted many, many friends across the continent. He strongly
believed in belonging to an institution and joined and participated in
all of the appropriate and available professional organizations.
He served as president of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial
Surgeons (AAOMS), American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Southwest
Society of Oral Surgeons, Dallas County Dental Society, Texas Division
of the American Cancer Society, and the American Trauma Society (ATS),
and served on boards and as chair of many other organizations.
He was humbled by the many awards and honors that came to him throughout
his professional life, including the Gies Foundation Award (AAOMS), the
Stone Award (ATS), distinguished service and lifetime achievement awards
from AAOMS, ATS, the Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons,
and the Dallas County Dental Society, a special citation from the Board
of AAOMS, and distinguished alumnus awards from Baylor College of Dentistry
and Texas A&M College of Science.
A recent honor that he treasured was being named by the Parkland Health
and Hospital System to the small group of Heroes of Our Heritage. He was
grateful for this recognition by the institution whose mission he served
for his entire career. The high esteem of his colleagues at the Oral and
Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation led them to name a major fundraising
society for him in 1997 to support research and education.
A Chair in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at UT Southwestern was named
in his honor in 1992, endowed by contributions from a large number of
donors. Recognition from his foreign colleagues included treasured honorary
fellowships in the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and Royal College
of Surgeons of England, as well as associations in South America, the
Philippines, and Japan.
In his later years he tried to give back to the institutions that had
given him a chance, advising and fundraising for Texas A&M and the
Baylor College of Dentistry, as well as continuing his work with the American
He was a genuine lover of people, and you couldn't get near him without
a hand on the shoulder, hug, kiss, or pat on the back. He formed connections
with his patients, making daily visits to those hospitalized and staying
in touch for long follow-ups.
He loved professional and personal writing, and many treasure the thoughtful
letters he sent, written in his distinctive style. Raised in Baptist and
Methodist churches, he carried his faith to the Highland Park Presbyterian
Church when he married. He was an usher and greeter for 30 years, a great
ministry for him to apply the people-loving gift the Lord gave him, and
he also served as a deacon of the church.
Given the role that sports played in his journey from Satin, it is no
wonder that as a spectator he avidly followed baseball, football, and
basketball, with season tickets to the professional teams which he shared
with Emily, who is as big a fan as he was.
But the sport that he truly participated in throughout his adult life
was golf, and this took him on golfing pilgrimages to the British Isles
and around the country, as well as playing any decent course within reach
of any city where he was attending a meeting. Some of his best friends
were his golfing buddies, both in oral surgery and at his home club, the
Dallas Country Club.
The flood of cards, calls, and messages received by the family attest
to the regard in which he was held as a teacher, mentor, role model, colleague,
healer, and friend.
His death from pancreatic cancer on April 28 leaves a huge hole in his
family and his wide circle of friends. He knew the many blessings and
good fortune of his life were due to a higher power, and we are happy
that he finally gets to thank "the Guy upstairs".
He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his loving
wife and rock-steady keeper of the family, Emily Jo Walker, and his three
children Robert V. Walker III (wife Mary) of Seattle; Jo Ann Walker Cosgrove
(Mark) of Upland, Indiana; and Ben Judd Walker (Tara) of San Antonio.
Other survivors include eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren:
Walker Reed Cosgrove (Kirsten), of St. Louis; Robert William Cosgrove
(Julia) and sons Mark Robert and Joel William of Holland, Michigan; Preston
Barry Cosgrove (Jennifer) of Milwaukee, Ashley Brook Walker and son Braeden
Corley of San Antonio; Benjamin Zachary Walker of Dallas; and Robert Davis
Walker, Josephine Madeline Walker, and Emily Joe Samya Walker of San Antonio;
a sister-in-law Lo Veta Berger of Fredericksburg, Texas; and numerous
nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that those who may wish to contribute
memorials consider directing them to the Parkland Foundation, 2777 Stemmons
Fwy, Ste. 1700, Dallas, TX 75207.
There will be a visitation at the Parlor of the Highland Park Presbyterian
Church on Monday, May 2, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:00 p. (enter from McFarlin
A memorial service is scheduled at Highland Park Presbyterian Church,
with Dr. Ron Scates presiding, for Tuesday, May 3 at 2:00 p.m.