Robert Van Galder

Obituary of Robert Arthur Van Galder

Robert Arthur Van Galder, August 25, 1929 – October 7, 2019


Bob Van Galder passed away peacefully in his sleep in the company of his loving family.  He is survived by his daughters Karen Schroeder (Tom), Martha Van Galder and Amy Gordon (Jim); his four grandchildren: Hiro and Taka Kagiyama, and Sarah and James Gordon, plus his six great grandchildren: Yoshitaka, Hirotaka and Keisuke, and Hideake and twins Kota and Koji, and his loving wife of sixty-five years Mary Lou Van Galder.

Bob graduated from the University of Oregon Dental School.  Shortly after graduation he married Mary Lou so she could accompany him to the base in Japan, where he served during the Korean War.  He practiced dentistry in Pleasant Hill for thirty-five years. His range of interests matched his thirst for life. His many hobbies included hunting and fishing which led to many trips from Northern California to Baja California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.  Those interests he has passed to his grandsons who are busy passing them on to his great grandsons.  

He also raised orchids and went on many orchid trips, attending conventions in South and Central America, the Far East including Kuala Lumpur. He built a green house in his yard where he tended to his plants with much care and was a long time member of the Diablo Valley Orchid society.

He loved to travel, taking his family on epic trips to both mainstream destinations and off the beaten paths. They went on a four week cycling trip from Heathrow to Inverness and back, covering over 1,000 miles when his daughters were just 15, 13 and 11 years old.  He enjoyed many white water trips with friends and family including locations in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and the Salmon River. The trips started at remote locations required paddling for several days. He enjoyed fishing on the river, cooking gourmet meals, sharing stories around the campfires at night.

He loved to cook and was a keen chef. That interest took him to learn Chinese cooking, eventually hosting several banquets for family and friends to fund raise for his daughters and grandson’s schools, as well as the pure enjoyment of a social evening. He was an oil painter, a woodworker, a prospector and grew grapes for wine in his vineyard. He loved culture and attended innumerable exhibits and concerts throughout the world, including watching the opera “Aida”, in front of the pyramids in the Egyptian dessert.

Bob leaves behind a legacy of family, dedication and commitment, loyalty to his colleagues, partners, associates and many friends, a lifelong and active participation in groups (let’s not forget his bridge and poker partners of decades long) and love for the outdoors. He was a kind and sweet man. Today, we celebrate his life and honor his memory while we miss him!

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