The Walkers Don’t Walk, They Run 


Bob Walker Jr joined Rotary 44 years ago at the invitation of Dr. Crotty and has served as President and Secretary plus several terms on the Board of Directors.  He was originally an active Kiwanis member.  When his business demands took off in the early 70s, and he couldn’t convince Kiwanis to lessen his volunteer duties, he left.  A few years later when things settled down he became a Rotarian.
 
Bob’s grandfather started Max I. Walker cleaners in March of 1917 and Bob worked with both his father and grandfather as a child.  In his teens, he also held two other jobs.  One for Buffett’s grocery in Dundee (this was Warren’s uncle) and another at Peony Park where he was fired for not coming in on a last-minute request because his mother had other plans. 
 
Today, Bob still goes into the office every day, keeps a cell phone and answers emails.  His son Rob “runs the place and is doing a great job.  I try to stay out of the way.”   In 1974, they took on the industrial part of the business which has been helpful in keeping the company vital and growing as well as providing jobs for his three grandsons one runs production, another the routes and customer service and the youngest is on the retail side.  In fact, they will open a new retail cleaning plant in Elkhorn this year.  Bob said with a smile, “Dry cleaning is a mature industry.   Only the best guys will survive.”
 
The company is busy preparing for their 11th annual Ultra Chic Boutique in February.  They collect, mend and clean wedding and evening dresses, then host an event where they sell to the public for $30 each   In the past, proceeds have gone to Lydia House.  This year they will go the Alzheimer’s Association.  Bob’s wife of 60 years, Linda, recently moved into a care facility with the same disease.  His two children Rob and Lisa have been there to help every step of the way.
 
As a Paul Harris Fellow +8 and a major donor at several levels, Bob said he gives generously to the International Foundation because
“I know it will be spent properly.  Look what happened to the Goodwill here.  Rotary will do the right thing. It’s something everyone ought to think about, and you don’t have to give big bucks, just get started.  Look what we have done with polio, that’s the greatest example in the world.”
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