Dicocese’s most senior priest passes away


Msgr. Robert Walter, also known as “Bucky,” passed on in the echo of fireworks on July 5 at the Kahl Home in Davenport. He was the senior priest of the Diocese of Davenport at age 98.

A native of Davenport, he was born June 24, 1921. He attended St. Ambrose Academy and St. Ambrose College, both in Davenport. He also attended the Catholic University of America, St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and did advanced studies at the University of Michigan. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Ralph Hayes on June 16, 1945, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

After ordination, he took his place on the faculty of his former high school, St. Ambrose Academy, and moved with his alma mater to Assumption High School, joined by the BVM sisters of Immaculate Conception Academy. He became Assumption’s principal, serving in that position from 1962-70.

Msgr. Walter also served as pastor of St. Mary Church in West Burlington, St. Thomas More Parish when it was located in Iowa City, St. Paul Parish in Burlington, and St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport before his retirement in July 1991.


He served in various diocesan capacities as well — on the Priests Senate, Personnel Board, Priests’ Aid Society and as a diocesan consultor. He was named Prelate of Honor with the title Reverent Monsignor in 1981.

His funeral Mass was to be celebrated Wednesday, July 10, at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. Burial was to take place in the Priests Circle at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Davenport.

The box score of his 98-year life could look like this: ordained priest of the diocese – 74 years; high school faculty and principal 25 years; pastoral ministry in the diocese, 49 years; retirement and later residence at the Kahl Home, 28 years.

There has to be a great story of how he acquired his nickname “Bucky,” but that will be left to the historians. He was a big man with a big voice and that possibly added to his coaching talent and his skill as a teacher of Latin.

His whole ministry, the number of people whose lives he impacted over the years, marked a truly fulfilling priesthood. He maintained his commitment to the church and to his God.

— Msgr. Francis Henricksen

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