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Obituary: Robert Grimm '57

Bob Grimm, M.D., beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, mentor and friend, passed away May 4, 2011, while visiting Ashland with family and close friends for an annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was 77.

Born in Detroit, Mich., to Fred and Louise Grimm, Bob graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He met Nancy Ross, an M.D. doing post-doctoral work at Ann Arbor, and they began their extraordinary life together with their marriage in 1959.

They backpacked their way West to Seattle in 1962 where Bob had a fellowship in physiology and biophysics at the University of Washington. Following the birth of daughter Lydia, Bob and Nancy moved to Portland where Bob had post-doctoral work as a neurology resident at Good Samaritan Medical Center. Son Peter was adopted at birth several years later, completing the family.

Following his residency, Bob worked in the neurophysiology lab of Robert Dow, M.D. He also ran a neurology training program and a clinic for the indigent at Good Samaritan. Bob spent over 40 years in neurology, most of the latter half in private practice in Portland. A polio survivor, Bob brought uncommon care and compassion to his patients. He championed the least fortunate, respecting their dignity and providing his clinical expertise, support and unwavering loyalty.

He reluctantly retired in May 2010 as failing health and memory losses took their toll. He missed his patients, but was able to complete his long-simmering book ""Neurology Work"" which portrays his life and learning in neurology.

Along with his medical skills, Bob was an accomplished naturalist and ornithologist and, for over 30 years, volunteered with an annual breeding bird survey in Eastern Oregon. He was featured in an Oregon Field Guide episode about his study of Eagle Creek ouzels in the Gorge. A dedicated conservationist, he loved the high country of the Cascades and other Pacific Northwest wilderness areas where, for decades, he backpacked with family and friends. His wilderness journals, complete with his pen and ink sketches, are a treasure.

Bob's family was central: he and Nancy, a psychiatrist, created a warm, loving home overflowing with books, art, and music--Bob played Scott Joplin rags and Nancy played Beethoven--and vibrating with visiting friends, students and relatives. Bob was extremely proud of raising two wonderful children with Nancy--Lydia, an environmental attorney, and Peter, an architect--and he was beyond thrilled at the arrival of granddaughters, Lucy and Hazel.

Bob took magnificent care of Nancy as her illness (multiple sclerosis) necessitated major life changes. Despite their disabilities as they aged, Bob made sure they thrived with travel, theatre, and robust dinner table discussions--a constant intellectual and artistic feast. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2009 with a sojourn to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

Bob was charming, warm and caring, generous, funny, exceedingly intelligent, endlessly curious and deeply concerned about social issues-the tribulations and quest for well-being of humanity. Bob was a remarkable human being, who made an impression on and a difference, often profound, in many people's lives.

Bob is survived by his wife of 52 years, Nancy R. Grimm, M.D.; daughter, Lydia of Portland; son, Peter (Lauren Miller); granddaughters, Lucy and Hazel of Portland; many nieces and nephews throughout the country, including Wendi Makuch (Joe) of Portland and Matt Fisher (Michelle) of Schoolcraft, Mich.; and his aunt, Ginny Grimm of Akron, Ohio. He was predeceased by his parents; and sister, Nancy Fisher Peters.

The family thanks Jake Quijada for his many years of care of Bob, as well as Linda Haney for her care of both Bob and Nancy. A memorial and celebration of Bob's life will be held this summer in Portland