Robert (Bob) Raymond Gilsdorf


Robert Raymond Gilsdorf
1930 – 2014

It is with great sadness that the family of Robert R. Gilsdorf announce his sudden passing, December 2014 at the age of 84.

He is remembered with love and esteem, by his partner Roberta, children Seth, Matt, Jessica, Athena, and Robert, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, his brother Bill and sister Ann, and many nieces and nephews. Always positive, Bob loved his family unconditionally and enjoyed their successes and shared them with great pleasure.

Having been born in the USA, Bob proudly became a Canadian citizen in 1975. He received his Engineering degree from Ohio State. After completing his doctorate at Yale, Bob joined the Political Science Department at the U of A and taught there for over 30 years. He took great joy in opening first-year student’s minds to the world of Political Science, as well as helping his doctoral students work towards their goals. Himself a lifelong learner, Bob was studying psychology and relearning Italian in the last year of his life.

Bob was well-respected by the academic community, many of whom came to visit him at his final home of the Allen Grey Continuing Care Centre.

Bob loved the outdoors, travelling, walking, hiking, reading, writing and volunteering. He had an amazing ability to adapt to any situation. When confined to a wheelchair, he enjoyed challenging himself with new studies and making Allen Gray his new home.
Bob took up volunteering after his retirement, working for causes such as cancer research, lung, heart and stroke research, and the Salvation Army. He loved to man the donation Kettle at Southgate Mall.

Bob was loved by everyone in the Lendrum Community where he lived for over 27 years. He helped canvass the neighborhood to have many trees planted on the boulevard. He had garbage containers installed in front of the Lendrum schools and bus stops and had stop signs installed at entrance to the Uof A Farm. He would regularly call the farm to make sure the manure pile was “topped up” for the community’s use.

The family would like to extend a special thank-you to the wonderful staff at Allen Grey who cared so much for Bob during his time there. Bob considered it his home; he felt safe there and enjoyed his life. He and Roberta continued to explore his new community and sought to find new areas of study for him to enjoy. His children and grandchildren visited often and shared their lives with him and his with them. His friends came and there was much laughter. It was an extraordinary year.

Memorial donations in Bob’s honour may be made directly to the University of Alberta Library.

A celebration of Bob’s life will be held in the summer of 2015. Stay tuned for details – BOB LOVED A PARTY. If you are interested in receiving an invitation to the Celebration, please leave your email address with your condolence message, on this website.

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Audrey Bell-Hiller

My condolences to Bob’s family, and especially to Roberta.
When I first met Bob he had a full beard and on occasion smoked a pipe. Before long the beard was gone, and he looked much younger, and had more vitality for life it seemed.

Professor Gilsdorf always had the respect of his students in Political Science. He was patient and always kind, ever encouraging spending time when he realized it was needed. The world is poorer since he has died. A Bell-Hiller

Anne Kaplan

Bob Gilsdorf was there for me in my first year of university. He debated with me, explained things to me, and by the end of the year I found the confidence to believe that I really did belong there. He was at the time, a stout pipe smoking classic picture of a professor or Santa Clause! Two years later he was svelte and sporty and havin a ball! “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” – looking back he made it possible for many of us to live forward. I am sorry he is gone, and I’m sure he will never be forgotten by his many students. Condolences.


A lovely gentleman – he always had time for the Library staff, and usually a good story any time he visited – My condolences to the Family, Jenni Reiz (Rutherford Library 1994-2010)

Lois Christenson

Roberta, I was shocked to learn that Bob had passed away. I will miss him when I go to visit Mike at Allen Grey. I wish you all the best always. Lois Christenson My email address is [email protected]

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