Cover photo for James Robert Waller Harper's Obituary
James Robert Waller Harper Profile Photo

James Robert Waller Harper

October 27, 1928 — October 31, 2023


James Robert Waller Harper

James Robert Waller Harper (Robert) died peacefully in his home in Portland, Texas, on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

He had just celebrated his 95th birthday on Friday, October 27.

Robert was born on October 27, 1928, in Gatesville, Texas, the first child of J.W. Josh and Mary Waller Harper. Three years later, his sister Gloria Elaine (Phronie) was born. The family moved from Gatesville to Marlin, Texas, in the late 1930's, where Robert's father was the manager of Cox's Department Store. After Robert graduated from Marlin High School, the family moved to Waco, Texas. Robert attended Baylor University, earning Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education.

While attending Baylor, Robert met Bettye June Hooper, where both were pursuing Master's degrees. They were married on November 26, 1954. Bettye says that she earned her "MS" and "MRS" in the same month that year. Together they had one daughter, Robin Gayle Harper, who resides in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Robert served for four years in the U.S. Air Force, then spent his entire career working in the field of education, starting out as a classroom teacher, then truant officer and as a Director in Waco ISD, several years at the Texas Education Agency in Austin, and as the Director Of Special Education at the Education Service Center, Region II, in Corpus Christi, Texas. He retired in 1985.

Robert had a lifelong interest in astronomy, anything electronic, and was an avid photographer, winning several awards for his photos. He was a computer wizard of sorts and an enthusiastic story teller of family history and genealogy. He had many hobbies, his favorites being collecting coins, stamps, and had a great talent for woodworking. He enjoyed keeping in touch via email on a daily basis with high school friends, family, and people he used to work with.

Robert is survived by his wife of almost 69 years, Bettye; his daughter, Robin; niece, Nancy Napier (Mike) Morrison of Waco; cousins Claudette Gardner Harrell of San Marcos, Sandra Waller Gravitt of Seguin, and Diane Waller Word of Waco; their children and grandchildren.

Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of the professionals at Winsteads' Funeral Home. (361) 643-6564

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Robert Waller Harper, please visit our flower store.


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