In Memoriam

Class of 1976


Dr. Robert GiswoldDr. Robert Miller “Bob” Giswold died of cancer on June 1, 2015. He was 66.

Dr. Giswold was born on July 1, 1948 in Seattle to William and Marjorie Miller Giswold. He grew up in Kirkland with his sisters Kathy and Cindy. He graduated from Lake Washington High School and attended Western Washington College. Uninspired by school and struggling with his grades, he took a semester off to explore Europe with a backpack and a Eurorail pass. While in Eastern Europe, he faced near starvation, isolation and life-threatening experiences, which helped shape his new outlook. In Turkey he observed destitute elderly men running to make deliveries with 100-pound bundles on their backs. Seeing them sweat and struggle under such heavy loads, earning barely enough to live, he awoke to the realization that he was fortunate to have so many opportunities that these men would never have. He returned to college with renewed drive to succeed in his studies and proactively pursue his vision for his life.

At Western, he started dating Sara Sakura, a fellow biology major. He charmed her with his Flemish pot roast dinner, sense of humor, enthusiasm for life and skiing technique. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1970, fully prepared for a career in biochemistry. However, with few job prospects during the oil crisis, he followed his father and grandfather’s footsteps and attended the School of Dentistry. His future wife attended dental hygiene school at the same time. They married in July 1974.

In his first years as a dentist, Dr. Giswold practiced with his father, Bill. Later, he and his wife had their own dental office in the Capitol Hill neighborhood for 16 years. Bob was very happy he chose dentistry as his profession. It fit his personality perfectly, as it required lifelong learning, was a constant challenge and provided many personal interactions with patients.

The couple later moved to Whidbey Island, Wash., to build their “log cabin” and raise their children, Kelsi and Braden. In 1994, he opened Saratoga Dental in Langley, Wash.

Dr. Giswold instilled his love for life and adventure in his children. Outdoor sports and frequent travel were top of the list for Giswold family vacations, which included ski trips to Winthrop and Whistler, wind-surfing vacations in Hawaii and hiking and cycling treks. They also traveled to Europe, China, Ecuador and Brazil. His days working shrunk and soon his daily life was better than he had ever dreamed. The few days he spent at the office, he was challenged by exciting advanced dental procedures.

Kelsi and Braden also pursued health-care careers. Kelsi is a certified Soma Neuromuscular Integration practitioner. Braden took over the dental practice at Saratoga Dental in 2012 and is now the fourth-generation dentist of the family.

Bob’s most profound experience was being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of prostate cancer in August 2014. He tackled the challenge head-on, determined to learn all he could about cancer and death, and to be master of his thoughts and spirit through the journey. He maintained a positive attitude, not letting his diagnosis prevent him from enjoying his planned cycle tour of Slovenia and Croatia, annual wind-surfing trip to Baja or a guided back-country ski trip in Canada.

He always had a scientific mind, and with this new challenge he expanded his focus from the physical world to include the emotional and spiritual worlds. His studies in Ayurveda, psychotherapy, energy medicine and Eastern philosophy combined with his scientific studies in cosmology, quantum mechanics and biology to paint a harmonious picture of life and death, and prepare him for his next journey. He faced cancer and death as yet another undertaking, an important life experience. By the time death was imminent, he was totally at peace and without fear. (South Whidbey Record)