Bob Van Galder

May 20th, 1937 - January 11th, 2021

The greater the love, the greater the loss.

Biography


Robert “Bob” Bruce Van Galder, age 83, passed away on Monday, January 11, 2021 in Fresno, California.


Born on May 20, 1937 in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Clark and Doris Van Galder, Bob was the second of five boys.  After growing up in Racine and La Crosse, he moved to Fresno in 1952 where he enrolled as a sophomore at Fresno High School.  He excelled in athletics where he was on the varsity basketball, football, and track teams, eventually earning the 1955 FHS Athlete of the Year. In 2006, Fresno High named Bob to the Football Hall of Fame, and in 2018, he was inducted into the FHS Athletic Wall of Champions for football, basketball, track and field.


Bob attended Stanford and Fresno State earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Fresno State.  While a student athlete at Fresno State, he played basketball and football for two years, earning all CCAA honors, second team All Coast and Honorable Mention Little All American Awards. He coached as a graduate assistant for the undefeated 1960 Bulldog football team while teaching boy’s P.E. at Tenaya Junior High School.  In January 1962, he was hired by Fresno State to teach in the P.E. Department and serve as the offensive backfield coach.  Until his passing, he was the last surviving coach of the 1961 Mercy Bowl team.  In 1969, Bob was granted a sabbatical from Fresno State to complete his doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado.   While attending classes, he was hired as a graduate assistant on the 1969 undefeated Bear football team.  Bob completed his doctorate at UNC and returned to Fresno State in 1970.


In 1972, Bob left coaching and was named Assistant Athletic Director at Fresno State.  He continued to teach activity classes and fulfill his passion for teaching Physiology of Exercise and Kinesiology.   


He loved to golf, play racquetball, and the challenge of competing with his students both in class and during intramural seasons.  He served as the Interim Athletic Director in 1983 during the basketball team’s NIT victory.  After retiring in June 1997 as Professor Emeritus, Bob increased his time with his golf clubs and crosswords.  He and Nancy enjoyed traveling across country, taking special trips abroad with dear friends, cruising with family, and spending time at the coast.  In August 2018, Bob and Nancy sold their home of 48 years and moved to The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens where a new circle of friends embraced them.


In 1955, as a Fresno High School senior, he met the love of his life, sophomore Nancy Sue Wynne.  Bob is survived by his devoted wife, Nancy; son Robin Van Galder and daughter-in-law Tana and their sons Daniel and Casey; daughter Julie (Van Galder) Severns and son-in-law Dave and their children Darcey, Jordan, and Hailey.  He is also survived by his brothers Richard (Dick) Van Galder and Tim Van Galder, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, as well as countless friends, players, and students. He is preceded in death by his parents Clark and Doris Van Galder and his brothers Gary Van Galder and Don (Brownie) Van Galder.


Sincere thanks to many caregivers and medical professionals who have supported Bob and the family in these past months. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bob's memory to Hind's Hospice, the Alzheimer's Association, the Bulldog Foundation, or the Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens (TSJG) Benevolent Fund.

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Family

About

Name Bob Van Galder
Date of Birth May 20th, 1937
Date of Death January 11th, 2021
Home Town Fresno, CA, US 
In Memoriam Donation Hind's Hospice
In Memoriam Donation Bulldog Foundation
Family

Family

SpouseNancy (Wynne) Van Galder
SiblingsDon "Brownie" Van Galder, Thomas "Tim" Van Galder, Richard "Dick" Van Galder, Gary Van Galder
ParentsClark Van Galder, Doris Van Galder
ChildrenRobin Van Galder, Julie (Van Galder) Severns
Grand-ParentsIrving Samuel Van Galder, Gustav Simonson, Minnie Bertha Rockwell, Mary Roenisch
Milestone

Milestones

1955 - 1960 Fresno State, Bachelor of Arts
1960 - 1962 Fresno State, Master of Arts
1961 - 1962 P.E. Teacher/Coach, Tenaya Junior High
1962 - 1972 Assistant Football Coach, Fresno State
1962 - 1997 P.E. Teacher, Fresno State
1966 - 1970 University of Northern Colorado, Doctor of Education
1972 - 1981 Assistant Athletic Director, Fresno State

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Tributes



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Mark Scott published a tribute .

During my FHS and Fresno State days I consider myself kind of an adjunct member of the Van Galder family. I remember father Clark as one of my father’s friends, and I LOVED playing BB for brother Dick and with brother Brownie. Mother Doris adopted all of us as her loyal surrogates. Tim was my NFL idol. But it was Bob at Fresno State who was such a role model for me. The entire Van Galder family competed joyously and fiercely. Bob taught us to compete with dignity and class. In my mind, Bob and Nancy Van Galder were always people I looked up to with pride. I am grateful for the you.

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Glenn Scott published a comment .

Let me confirm, as the younger Scott brother, that the Van Galder clan was a big part of our lives. BVG (Brownie) and I were senior guards on the FHS basketball team while DVG coached us. TVG used to come visit occasionally and scrimmage with us, always an inspiration. And at Fresno State, I can't count the afternoons playing indoor doubles volleyball in the North Gym with Bob and Pete Conrad. As kids, sitting with our folks high up at Radcliffe Stadium, we watched Bob as the skillful QB. Getting to know him, when I reached college, was a gift. He had that great optimistic air, that quiet confidence, that made him such a fine person to be around. Now that I'm a college teacher, I hope a bit of his magic rubbed off on me. Best wishes to all in the family!

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Harry And Clarice Wiggins published a tribute .

Bob was a warm and welcoming person. He always had a winning smile and was very much at home with Nancy's Watsonville friends. We loved their visits here when we would gather for dinner with high school friends or meet at the Santa Cruz County Fair Grounds for an Ag History event or Pajaro Valley Historical Association evening. He is deeply missed by each of us.

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Jerry Honstein published a comment .

I met Bob, and the rest of the VG clan immediately upon their arrival in Fresno. I remember having to mention to him that ‘riding a bicycle to high school was not ‘cool.’ Having said that, there was never a time when I had to remind Bob about ‘being cool.” He just was that, and so much more, including kind, thoughtful, and funny. I never did ever get used to that trademark handshake though. Very, very thankful for the many years my wife and I had the pleasure of hosting and visiting Bob and Nancy. Dear, Friend, I am truly sorry for the loss of such a vibrant part of your lives.

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Mo Leblanc published a tribute .

On Jan 31, 2021, at 3:56 PM, Maurice LeBlanc <[email protected]> wrote:

Hi Nancy-

It was a wonderful celebration of life for Bob today.
Well done and memorable.
A few more thoughts:

• There were 150 people watching it. Good crowd!

• Larry did a nice job talking even though his hair is now white.

• I remember when Bob and I were stacking lumber, we would
have lunch together. I would have a sandwich and pint of milk.
He would have two sandwiches and a quart of milk. Expect you
stayed busy just feeding him over the years!

• I went to only one of Patricia Dillon’s Class of ’55 FHS reunions,
and it happened to be the one that Bob was Master of Ceremonies.

• Julie looks a lot like you, and that’s good.

• I especially like two of Bob’s sayings that I heard for the first time.
One is “Good groceries” for a good meal and the other is a hurt
“That’s a long way from your heart.”

• And I really like your comment that “I chased him until he caught me.”

• It is interesting that many pictures you were not in, I expect because
you were taking the pictures!

• Lastly, Nancy, you are amazing with all the health challenges that
you have had, that you took such good care of Bob.

Love and best wishes for carrying on.

-Mo

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Tom Sommers published a tribute .

Coach Bob Van Galder was our QB Coach - 1961 Mercy Bowl Team. Great Coach - Has been a wonderful friend ever since. Positive - up beat - Encourager. Great role model.
Nancy & Bob have been a part of the many, many get togethers of the Mercy Bowl Team.

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Sharon Haverty published a tribute .

Nancy I watched Bob’s memorial on zoom and it was wonderful. Whoever put the video with pictures together did an incredible job.
You were a wonderful partner fir Bob and making sure he was included in events. He was a great guy and many memories of him at Fresno High.

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Bud & Kathy Mann published a tribute .

Thank you to all who made the Memorial so special. Bud & I joined Julie with tears running down our cheeks. Bob was such a joy with Nancy at our Watsonville gatherings. We were honored to be counted among their friends. We miss him.

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Pat Ogle published a tribute .

Kudos and appreciation to all who were involved in front of and behind the "cameras"...just a wonderful video salute covering the lifetime of a special man from birth to passing. The music was well selected...the photos share stunning...the reflections heartfelt and the whole memoriam well edited. Thank you to Robin and the family for the personal shout-out...it was my honor and pleasure. In respect and with memories...Pat

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Lyda Norsworthy-Brand published a tribute .

Wonderful man, Coach, and Professor. Wonderful Memorial on Zoom. Dr. Van Galder will be missed by so many.

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Mai Yia Moua published a tribute .

Bob, thank you for sharing Mrs. Van with us. She was our school mom and our voice. As her “kids” we have a special place in her heart. But, you have her whole heart. You were her joy and sunshine. Our hearts are broken. You’ll be missed dearly. We’ll miss your kind and quiet gesture at our next gathering with our school mom. We love you!

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Tom published a comment .

Simply fabulous memorial to Bob. Gene among others did a great job. Brada was engaged the whole time.

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Doug Bruce published a comment .

It was nice to see you & Bob honored by so many friends. Bob & I used to compare similarities in our lives. It seems if we only changed a few pic's, names, football to hockey & I was 15 & June 16. An unforgettable memory in my life was the Friday golf match with 4 supposed adults (Brownie, Merle, Bob & I) competing to not host the dreaded 3-putt snake & the10 cent payout.

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Mark Mccormick published a tribute .

It has been a pleasure to have known Bob, husband to my cousin Nancy, since 1960. He was always a great guy, from the days that I was a somewhat bratty teenager who occasionally “dropped in” from the East Coast until the last 25 years that we have lived in California and got to spend time with Bob and Nancy. He was always pleasure to be around, never had a bad word to say about anyone and was always ready for a good laugh. My family and I have only good memories of our time with Bob and Nancy. He was skilled and knowledgeable about many things but was in a class all to himself when it came to the “limp handshake.” We will always remember him for these extraordinary qualities. We will miss him and fondly remember him and great times that we spent with him. He was one of a kind! Mark, Janice, Elizabeth and Andrew

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Donna “Deej” Beane’ published a comment .

I am still very grateful and blessed to have been a part of the VanGalder family during my senior year in high school in 1975. (My family had moved out of the area), when Nancy & Bob offered to take me into their home

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Jonathan Micetich published a tribute .

The "Bouncy-bounce"...multi- generational!

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Judy Honstein published a comment .

Bob did the "Bouncy-Bounce" with our great grandson and I'm not sure who had more fun Bob or Ryder! Dear friend you are sorely missed.

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Kathy Fox published a comment .

I met Bob in Greeley,CO and he was so easy to visit with. He got along with all ages and had a wonderful sense of humor.

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Tom G published a tribute .

Hi Nancy!

Such sad news....but thank you for letting me know.

It is interesting how I continued to think of Bob over the years...and to think that in all of those years since 1950 we were only together that one time at you son's house...I believe that was in Livermore.

Childhood memories...in La Crosse I remember one time being in a Minstrel Show with Gary and Bob...black-face, and all....at the good old Training School....(They probably don't do that anymore.)

You and Bob certainly had a long...(but not long enough)...splendid time together.

Thank you for taking the time to locate me....We have been here in Moraga for 55-years.

You mentioned concussion as being a potential contributor to the conditions, and I think that you are right...there seems to be so much evidence to that.

Bob's father was the U of Wisconsin back-field-coach when I was at Madison. It was great that Mr. Van Galder, when I would come across him at "Mickie's" the locally famous dairy bar-lunch spot across from the U of Wisconsin Field House...Mr. Van Galder would call me out..."Hey Tommy!--come over here!"...and we would talk about Bob.... My football experience was very limited ...(I was no good)...but to have others see that "coach" knew me was very up-lifting!

Just remembering....

Again, thank you for calling me.

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Arminee published a comment .

Nancy, my deepest sympathy to you and the family... a great loss!

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Josef Sanders published a comment .

Nancy as I’ve said before, there are no words that can really express how I feel, only if you could see the look in my eyes and feel my hugs would you know. You both have been so special to me and I always think about our fun and relaxing peaceful times here in the desert each February. Not the same without you

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Sally Baum published a comment .

Our last get together in Branson, 2019

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Sally Baum published a comment .

On our trip through the Panama Canal

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Beverly Schmidt Larios published a tribute .

Bob will be remembered by me as a great classmate and friend. So glad we met occasionally for lunch with our class and loved visiting with him and Nancy. Great family, was so sorry he had to leave us. His legacy will live on.

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Thomas Griffin published a comment .

It was my privilege and honor to serve as Bob Van Galder's primary care physician for many years. It was always a pleasure to see him in the office (often with Nancy) with his larger-than-life presence, wide smile, quick laugh, and magnificent positive can-do attitude. He was an astute listener with a quiet strength and wisdom. I can see how he inspired so many students to give their very best at everything they did. We miss him greatly but, thanks to his life's work, we have many of his students as examples of intergity and good works.

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Jay & Barbara Buckert published a tribute .

We were very sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was a great friend and teammate during my days at FSC and that friendship remained after leaving Fresno. When I arrived at FSC in the spring of 1959 Bob took me under his wing and spent extra time with me after practice working on our timing, my route running, etc. to make me a better player. I always looked forward to visiting with Bob and Nancy during our reunions and talking about old times.

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Mo Leblanc published a tribute .

Two memories:
• Bob and I stacked lumber at Hollenbeck & Bush in Fresno for two summers together - we could make $1000 a summer while guys who worked at the Chevron Station or Camp Curry in Yosemite had more fun but not as much money
• It was great spending some time with Bob & Nancy at their place in Watsonville in recent years

Bob photo from FHS '55 Owl attached

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Jim published a tribute .

Dear Nancy and entire family: I want to sent heart felt condolences for you loss. Bob was a great teammate and friend. My prayers go out to all of you during this difficult time. I will be at the service in my Red Shirt in honor of Bobs memory as I am sure other teammates will be.

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Gene And Sally Baum published a tribute .

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Stephen C Taylor published a tribute .

He was my coach in 1970, '71, '72. He was a great guy. My first year I was the youngest guy on the team, and he was always good to me.

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Nancy published a tribute .

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Joyce Knutson published a comment .

Dear Nancy, it was so good chatting today, I’m so sorry for you loss and grief. Bob was such a gentleman and always showed his love for you, I could see it when he looked at you. You have wonderful memories, keep them close and know many friends and family are keeping you in our thoughts. Bob was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather, may he Rest In Peace.

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Susan Quinn published a tribute .

Nancy, you are in my heart and prayers. I am so sorry for your. loss. You two were always an inspiration to me with the love and caring you showed all of us was your marriage. Bob was like a ray of sunshine when I would see him and he would wave and call out “hi neighbor”. He was always so kind and caring and my day was a little bit better when I saw him. I know he will be greatly missed by you and your family. Your caring devotion and honoring of him is a beautiful testament to what love is. He was a very special man, husband father, grandfather brother, friend and neighbor.

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Kristen Mattox published a tribute .

Bob Van Galder was one of my all time favorite college instructors. I had Bob for a couple of classes as a Kinesiology major, but my favorite class was the volleyball class I took from him. I am positive I was a challenging student because of my ultra-competitive nature, but he took it all in stride. He reined me in when he had to and let my fly when he could allow it. I learned a lot about how to be an effective and compassionate teacher from Bob. He taught me to recognize that students have different motives and skills and how to reach all of them through the use of the different teaching modalities. Most of all, I just remember Mr. Van Galder being kind. He knew that I wanted to be more competitive in class, so at the end of each class he allowed myself and a few others to stay after class and play. He trusted us to put the equipment away and lock up. Those after class times were some of my best memories from college and I developed some great friendships during those times. I thank Bob for providing us the opportunity to play after class. Mr. Van Galder had a great sense of humor and he did not hesitate to make fun of me when I was in his badminton class. He skillfully schooled me without killing my ego or enthusiasm. I love the memory of him riding his bike on the Fresno State campus. Each day, when I ride mine on campus, I think of him. Thank you Mr. Van Galder for just being an awesome person! I was blessed to have him as a teacher and mentor. I look forward to a little competition on the other side- if I make it!!! XOXO

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Dennis Reader published a tribute .

As of late I think back a lot about Bob, and you, Nancy. And by thinking "back" I mean all the way to 1956-57, which takes us to Watsonville High School, then to Stanford when Bob attended there. Thinking back--these memories--are helpful, and even reassuring, because they keep the connections alive. What comes to my mind about Bob? Humor, humor, humor. Being in his company was always being in good company. Dennis R.

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Bob Gray published a tribute .

I first met Bob when I came back to Fresno State to work on my teaching credential for Adapted P.E...his smile always put me at ease and he had a way of making his students feel valued..I also got to know Nancy at Hoover High and she also has that great quality of making others feel valued..He will be missed.

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Larry K. Gambrill published a tribute .

The memories are many. He gave me my Calif. nickname "Orange". We played many different sports, together and against each other, especially that "crazy man's game of golf". Driving him all around, chasing the love of his life. Staying at the "VanGalder Hotel" on my trips to my high school reunions. The many phone calls during the years, but the one call I will miss the most, is the one that always ended with a "Cha-Cha-Cha". RIP my friend, Orange

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Lorna Royer Dumont published a tribute .

Nancy, my thoughts, with love, are with you and your family,
A gentleman is a gentle man....and Bobby was. L

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Neil Smith published a tribute .

Nancy and Family
Please accept my deepest condolences for your husband's loss.

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Jonathan Micetich published a tribute .

Bob literally knew me my entire life. I fondly remember the summer of 1984, swimming and joking around at the Van Galder home while in California to see the olympics. Bob's wit, intelligence and happy demeanor will always be with us. As will, for those in the know, the "Bouncy-bounce"!

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Marcie Rupcich published a tribute .

Always a pleasure seeing Bob & Nancy. Worked with Nancy mentoring young students at Duncan Poly and Bob never let my husband, Mike, beat him at racquetball. Both lovely people. Beautiful memories knowing them both!

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Sharon Biggers published a tribute .

Bob and Nancy were among the first people I met when I moved to California from Canada, green card in hand. Nancy was instrumental in getting me a job at the Bank of America where she worked. Since I didn't know how to drive, I walked to and from work every day. After unfortunate and unsuccessful attempts by my husband-to-be, Dave, to teach me to drive, Nancy volunteered Bob. My memories of those lessons are among my most treasured. A very pregnant Nancy would come along just for the fun of it. And fun it was, with Bob clowning around and providing play-by-play commentary as I was hopelessly grinding gears and lurching around from point A to point B until I'd finally just have to shut 'er down, helpless with laughter. I ultimately turned to the court of last resort - the Sears Driving School - and eventually did get my license, but I wouldn't trade those hours in the car with Bob and Nancy for anything. Treasured memories for sure.

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David Harris published a tribute .

Bob recruited me to play football at Fresno State and I remember the great big smile that he maintained throughout his life. He was a very good coach and made football fun but more important he was an encourager and always gave good advice. Also, he was one of the best athletes I encountered as he beat all of us in handball, golf, and badminton. While teaching/coaching at Hoover High SchooI I was fortunate to get to know and admire the abilities and personality of Nancy who was the financial secretary and then coach their son Robin who was the outstanding quarterback on our championship team. Bob's devotion to his family is memorable in my mind. Bob will be missed but not forgotten.

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Scott Sailor published a tribute .

I always enjoyed it when Bob would stop by my office. He always gave me the limp fish handshake. His impact on students here at Fresno State has been making an impact on this Valley for decades. We are so fortunate to have had him on our faculty.

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Michael Olenchalk published a tribute .

Bob was one of my Professors and Advisor while I attended FSU. One of the many duties he had was to run the photo finish machine for all of the FSU track meets. When my track eligibility was up I helped him time all of the meets. We sat up in the rickety blue tower through the rain, wind, and occasional lightning storm. More than once we had to abandon the tower because of lightning. We also time all of the West Coast Relays and championship meets up and down the valley. At some places we had to string cable around the track. He was a great mentor and friend. As a couple Bob and Nancy were always interested in what was going on with this former student. My wife and I will always be grateful for the support they gave us as a young couple and a couple that went through a tragic loss. My heartfelt condolences to Nancy, Robin and Julie. Your husband and dad was a special person to so many. I am proud to have worked with him and proud to have Bob as a friend. Best wishes Mike and Amy Olenchalk

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Tom And Conni published a tribute .

Conni and I met Barb and Nancy while attending graduate school at the University of Northern Colorado. We had many memorable nights with them at weekend graduate school parties. We enjoyed our yearly visit to each others house for many many years. I will always think of Bob who encouraged me to take up golf. I thoughts and prayers are with you.

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Dennis Merkel published a tribute .

Bob will be remembered…and missed.
Wishing you strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

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Robert Nelson published a tribute .

I too remember Bob with great admiration. He was my Physiology instructor as a PE major in 1971 and one of my favorite instructors. He was also one of my advisors for my Masters degree thesis. He always had time and cared for his students.

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Remembering Bob Van Galder

January 31st, 2022 at 1:00pm
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