On November 15, 2022, Robert “Bob” Francis Walpole, loving husband and father, businessman and public servant, passed away at the age of 78.
Bob was born on August 6, 1944, in Cortland, New York to Jack and Mary (Boyer) Walpole. Bob grew up in Groton, New York, and spent his childhood on “Dog Hill.” He graduated from Groton Central School in 1963 and attended Rider College in New Jersey.
After returning to Groton, Bob began his successful career in business. He worked at Cornell University Dining Services and opened a successful catering business. Then, Bob was a car salesman at Dates Chevrolet, followed by Peter and Sons Ford (ironically, working for his future father-in-law). Ultimately, Bob became a licensed Real Estate Broker and a licensed Real Estate Appraiser. Along with his wife Christy, they opened their own real estate agency. As an appraiser, Bob worked with numerous local banks for a combined thirty years.
In addition to real estate, Bob opened the Groton Furniture Mart which he and Christy transitioned into Walpole’s Variety Store. In 1997, Bob supported Christy in opening a wine and liquor store for Groton-Appropriately known as Wally’s Liquor and Wine.
On March 16, 1986, he married Christy Peter. He adored Christy since they started dating and never stopped. (Even after his brother knocked her brother’s lemonade stand over on “Dog Hill.”) Together, Bob and Christy raised two sons, Benjamin Francis and Brian Robert, and one daughter, Kathleen Elizabeth.
Bob was a force of nature with his capable ways and his compassion. For 14 years, Bob served as Fire Chief of the Groton Fire Department, and secretary for three years. Many years after his retirement from fire service, Bob served as treasurer of the McLean, NY Fire District and became an honorary member of the McLean Fire District.
Bob served as a justice of the peace for 27 years for the Village and Town of Groton. As justice of the peace, he also served a role on the Town Board for Groton for several years.
In addition to his service to the fire department and the justice system, he served as Water Commissioner for the Village of Groton for 38 years and was an active participant on the Tompkins County Board of Assessment Review. He was a member of the Tompkins County Magistrate Association, the Loyal Order of Elks 564, and the Loyal Order of Moose 1512.
Bob’s antics were legendary, and those who knew him have their own stories to tell. From telling bellhops that a friend of his was the Senator staying at a hotel to storing crocks of sauerkraut in a basement to ferment, “Wally” was ready to make people smile and laugh.
Known as the master of making Manhattans across Central New York, he always had one available for a friend who called. (He stored them in empty cranberry juice cocktail bottles that led to some interesting moments and subsequent laughs!). Those Manhattans often made an appearance at the Walpole Christmas Eves, a time when all of the Walpoles gathered and celebrated the holiday. No Walpole event passed without several renditions of ‘God Bless America.’ He also loved spending time at Owasco Lake, cheering on Syracuse Basketball, and playing a few good hands of pitch.
Bob was preceded in death by his father, Jack, his mother, Mary, and his son, Brian. He is survived by his wife, Christy, their children, Katie of McLean, NY, and Ben (Jennifer) Walpole of Murrieta, CA; and grandchildren, Connor and Lily.
The family would like to thank the Groton Fire Department, McLean Fire Department, and the ICU team at Cortland Memorial Hospital for their compassionate care.
Because of Bob’s compassion for helping others and doing “good,” the family is establishing the “Robert F. Walpole Making a Difference Award.” All individuals who make significant contributions in the communities where Bob resided, Groton and McLean, will be eligible. Application details will be available at a later date. You may send contributions for the Award to The Walpole Family, P.O. Box 130, Groton, NY 13073.
Friends may call on Sunday, November 20, 2022 from 3:00 – 6:00 PM at the Shurtleff Funeral Home, 103 Lincoln Avenue, Groton. Private interment services will be in St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Groton.
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