Dr. Robert (Bob) Harvey Walkup Jr. passed away on Sept. 4, 2022, after an unexpected battle with illness. He was being cared for in Atlanta, Georgia, and was surrounded by his loving family at the end of his life. 

Bob was born in Montgomery, Alabama, to Alice Lee Thomason Walkup and Robert Harvey Walkup Sr. on June 25, 1944. His father was a Presbyterian minister who served across the Deep South. Thanks to the ministry and community work of both his parents, Bob grew up with a strong sense of the importance of caring for others, a value that shined throughout his life. It was Bob’s own challenging experience with appendicitis as a child that left him passionate about becoming a doctor from an early age. 

A pulmonologist, linguist and history aficionado, Bob was always pursuing his passion for learning, even after his retirement from the practice of medicine in 2017. Among his colleagues, he was known as a deep and empathetic listener who was fiercely committed to his patients and their wellbeing.

Bob received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he was also an active member of Phi Delta Theta. Following graduation, Bob then attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he received his Doctor of Medicine degree. After medical school, he specialized in internal medicine and pulmonology. Although he chose to study medicine instead of history, Bob’s passion for historical events, figures and his own family history was evident throughout his life. 

He married the love of his life, the late Cecilia Fong, in 1981 after the two were set up by friends at a dinner party. Bob’s dream of becoming a medical missionary led them to Taiwan, where he started the Pulmonary Department at Changhua Christian Hospital, and where he and Cecilia welcomed their first daughter, Alice. They welcomed Emily in 1987, after the couple relocated back to Los Angeles. Following Cecilia’s tragic passing from breast cancer in 1991, Bob moved his daughters and his mother to his home state of Alabama. Settling in Auburn, Bob joined Internal Medicine Associates, where he remained until his retirement in 2017. 

As a single father, Bob instilled a sense of intellectual curiosity and self-sufficiency in his daughters, as well as a love for travel and culture. Bob had traveled Europe, Asia and South America extensively as part of his commitment to both medicine and missionary service. Anytime the family traveled together, he put his language skills to good use, always making sure to converse with the locals in their native language, often to their surprise.

 In 2017, Bob took his daughters to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan where they visited Alice’s birthplace and many other places where Bob and his late wife had shared their lives together. The family also visited Cecilia’s family and Bob relished the girls’ hearing stories about their mother and reconnecting with their relatives.

Bob leaves behind a loving community at the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn where he was an active member and elder alongside his mother, who sadly passed away just a few months before him. He is predeceased by his father, Robert Harvey Walkup Sr., his beloved wife, Cecilia Fong Walkup, and his mother, Alice Lee Thomason Walkup. In addition to being survived by his two children, Alice and Emily (partner Abe Mohammadione), Bob is also survived by his siblings: brothers John Knox Walkup (wife Betsy) and James Thomason Walkup (wife Meg Wolder); and sister Virginia Walkup Coleman (husband James). He also leaves behind many cousins and adoring nieces and nephews scattered across the country — Alice E. Walkup and Margaret Walkup, Jake Walkup, Jamie Coleman and Meg Coleman Killgore (husband Ryan) — as well as great-nephew Easton Killgore and great-niece Mary Alice Killgore. 

The family honored his end-of-life wishes for his body to be donated to science, elevating his lifelong commitments to learning and medicine. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for gifts in his memory to be made to

 First Presbyterian Church of Auburn
149 E. Thach Ave., Auburn, AL, 36830 and 

Montreat Conference Center
P.O. Box 969
Montreat, NC, 28757. 

A memorial service will be held on Dec. 21, 2022, at 2 p.m. to honor his life as well as the life of his mother, Alice T. Walkup at First Presbyterian Church of Auburn. There will be a visitation with family after the service.


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