Roberta Doris Flanagan Walker, known to friends as Robbi, was born near midnight on November 26, 1943 in her Grandfather’s home on Flanigan’s Mill Pond, near Richland, Georgia. Robbi died June 7, 2019, at home, at the end of a ten-year battle with a rare form of thyroid cancer. Robbi was the beloved wife of William Adams “Bill” Walker II for nearly fifty-three years, mother to Sean Rob Walker, Michele Walker Van Son Neill and William Kennan Walker. She was grandmother to William Reid Walker, Katherine Michele Walker, Joshua William Van Son, Nicholas Edward Van Son, Cecilia Jade Neill, Lillian Ruth Van Son, and Alison Fadeley Neill. She is also survived by an older sister, Janet Kay Howell, of Ormond Beach, FL.
Robbi was the ninth child of Henry Candler and Lillian Bessie Flanagan. Her early years were under loving but very modest means in Penney Farms, Florida, west of Green Cove Springs, following the death of her father when she was two. She graduated from Gainesville High School and Pfeiffer College (now University), in Misenheimer, North Carolina, with a bachelor’s degree in Christian education and minor in music. Mid-life she earned her Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. She married at the First Methodist Church, Gainesville, Florida on June 26, 1966. She was known for the special quality of her voice and was a soloist with the Pfeiffer College Choir. Robbi made her life and raised her family in Winter Park, Florida. The Methodist Church anchored the life she, Bill and their three children shared. She was very active with Broadway UMC in Orlando as choir director and since 1974 with First United Methodist Church of Winter Park. Later in life, she became a Methodist pastor, serving at St. Andrews UMC in Winter Park before retiring, and was a Rotarian during that time. On an interim basis she preached and led the choir at Lyndonville United Methodist Church in Vermont.
Robbi was a pioneering spiritual leader of exceptional depth, whose call to ministry came out of the spiritual devotion to the divine that was already present in her. Through her many endeavors in life, she explored, encouraged and taught Christian Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Dance and music. In addition to being an accomplished singer, she played the piano, bells and ukulele. She was an excellent preacher, and guided communion services with an uncommon level of grace. She leaves behind many friends, particularly those in her Covenant Group and the Wednesday Group with whom she shared in the journeys of her life for more than twenty years. The passing of Robbi Walker from this life is felt by the many whose lives she touched in meaningful ways. Her physical presence will be deeply missed.
Family and friends will gather at a funeral service to be held at 10 AM Saturday, June 15, 2019 at First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, 125 N. Interlachen Avenue, Winter Park, Florida, with reception to follow. As the family is providing flowers, if you wish to memorialize Robbi, the family requests a gift to your favorite charity, to First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, or as an addition to the endowed scholarship fund Robbi began at Pfeiffer University to “pay forward” the grace-filled student funding she received in 1961 from her home church in Gainesville that enabled her to gain higher education: Pfeiffer University, Attn: Advancement-Roberta Walker Scholarship Fund, P. O. Box 960, Misenheimer, NC 28109 or online at https://community.pfeiffer.edu/give-now as you prefer.
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