R. Donald Walp earned a bachelor's degree in mining engineering from Lehigh University in 1938. Following five years in the mining industry, he received a commission in the US Navy Seabees. After three years in the service including the invasion of Okinawa, he returned to Allentown to help in the operation of Walp's Restaurant, which was started by his parents, Robert and Blanche Walp. The restaurant was frequented by families throughout the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Walp and his sister Thelma Barnes owned and operated the family business until 1986 when it was sold. His college education was put to good use when he designed the many additions to the restaurant and its state-of-the-art kitchen.
While a student at Lehigh, Walp was a member of the tennis team and the mining society. He has been actively involved as a volunteer for many decades, serving as '38 Class Agent, and Lehigh University Alumni Association co-chair with fellow classmate Charlie Zell for the 1938 reunions. In 1988 he was awarded the Lehigh University Alumni Association award. Scouting has been one of his life long passions. An Eagle Scout, at Lehigh he organized a scout troop at the Bethlehem Boys Club and was a charter member of the Lehigh Alpha Phi Omega scouting fraternity. Walp serves on the executive committee of the BSA Minsi Trails Council, and was recognized with the Silver Beaver Award (1978), the BSA Eagle Scout Award (1997), and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He is a founding member and a past president of the Allentown East Side Kiwanis Club, and is also a founding member and past president of the Lehigh Valley Restaurant Association. He is an avid golfer and swimmer.
Walp and his wife Terry live in Macungie, PA and Delray Beach, FL and have three children. The Walps are members of the Lehigh University Tower Society, and are longtime contributors to the Lehigh Life Income Program.