REDDING - E. Robert "Bob" Wallen, MD of Palo Cedro passed away shortly before midnight on July 30, 2008 at Shasta Regional Medical Center after a long and courageous battle against heart disease. He was surrounded by the family he loved throughout the final days of his journey.
Born in San Francisco on November 19, 1919, Bob arrived at the family home on 18th Avenue by horse-drawn carriage. Always an avid outdoorsman, he spent much of his youth at his uncle's farm in the Suisun Valley near Vacaville. He particularly cherished his time at the family cabin in Whispering Pines in the Cobb Mountain Valley area of Lake County. Bob was active in Boy Scouts and earned his Eagle Scout designation in 1935. He was educated in the Bay Area at Lowell High School (Class of '36), the University of California, Berkeley and the University of San Francisco (Class of '40). After college, Dr. Wallen went east where he attended St. Louis University Medical School, graduating on his 24th birthday with the Class of 1943. He entered the US Army immediately after graduation where he served in the Army Medical Corps in the Pacific Theatre. He was discharged from active duty in 1947 with the rank of Captain. He was very proud of his service and carried a profound respect for his fellow veterans of the period.
While serving two surgical residencies in Los Angeles he met the love of his life, Elizabeth Bird, a recently minted surgical Nurse at St. Vincent's Hospital. The two married on September 22, 1951. They began their family in 1952 with the arrival of the first of six children. Bob had numerous hobbies including: hunting, photography, piano, stamps, model trains and gun collecting. He especially enjoyed recording his own music at home. The family photography albums and musical CDs he made will be cherished by the family for many years to come.
He and Betty opened his private practice together shortly after their wedding. Between 1952 and 1971, Dr. Wallen maintained a surgical practice in Los Angeles while also serving as an instructor in Proctology at USC Medical School. In 1971, the family left the Los Angeles area and moved to Redding where he joined the surgical staff of Shasta General Hospital and subsequently served as surgical staff chief from 1981-1987. Dr. Wallen remained active in the local medical community right up until the time of his death, working as a consultant for both Shasta Community Health Care and the State of California Department of Rehabilitation.
Bob is survived by Betty, his bride of 57 years, and six children: Bob (Paradise, CA), John (Bremerton, WA), Jim (San Franciso, CA), Jean (Reno, NV), Elizabeth (Berkeley, CA) and Bill (Redding, CA). He also leaves 12 grandchildren and countless friends from around the country. Bob will be missed for his ready smile, quick wit and his marvelous ways on the piano.
Private funeral services for the family were held on July 7, 2008 in Whispering Pines, CA with burial at the Glenbrook Cemetery in his beloved Cobb Valley along side his oldest and dearest friend, Don Strickler. A public celebration of Dr. Wallen's life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday July 26, 2008 at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church Shasta View Drive in Redding with a reception to follow in the Social Hall. The family extends an invitation to all of Bob's friends and colleagues to share their memories and anecdotes at this service.
Published in the Redding Record Searchlight on 7/19/2008