Robert Alander Walker, 95, a major pioneer in Christian journalism, died Saturday, March 1, in Carol Stream, Illinois. Walker, who published the first national story on evangelist Billy Graham, had Parkinson's disease and dementia since 2005.
Walker attended the University of Illinois and Wheaton College, where he came to Christ. He earned journalism degrees from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and returned to Wheaton, where he developed a journalism program and served as an associate professor from 1941 to 1951. During this time, he helped publish HIS, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's first magazine.
"Bob was a giant in our industry," said Doug Trouten, executive director of the Evangelical Press Association (EPA) trade group. "The Christian journalism world has grown significantly since those early days, but only because we stand on the shoulders of giants like Bob Walker."
Walker took over the national magazine Church School Promoter and renamed it Sunday in 1943. In 1948, Walker acquired Christian Life & Times from friend Clyde Dennis at Good News Publications. He merged Sunday and Christian Life & Times into Christian Life. It was in Christian Life that Walker published the first national story on Graham, as well as a later piece on singer Pat Boone's Holy Spirit experience.
Walker was also active in the founding of many organizations, including the EPA, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and the Christian Booksellers Association. Walker launched Christian Bookseller, the first trade magazine targeting religious book retailers (it later became Christian Retailing). He also started Creation House, which published A New Song by Pat Boone, and Bruce Olson's Bruchko missionary biography, among many other titles. ...1