Robert Gordon Garrigues, 84, died July 18, 2018 at the E.T. York Haven Hospice Care Center in Gainesville, Florida after being lovingly cared for by the nurses, attendings, and other staff in the CV-ICU unit at the Shands Heart and Vascular Hospital. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Margaret Williams Garrigues; his four children Robert M. Garrigues (Debbie) of Tampa, Sarah Garrigues-Jones (John L. Jones) of Gainesville, Amanda Garrigues DeMouey (Scott) of Gainesville, John T. Garrigues III (Amy) of Roseville, MN; his eight beloved grandchildren, Noah, Padgett and Tristan Jones (Gainesville), Emily and Samantha Garrigues (Tampa), George and Lula Garrigues (Roseville, MN), and Finn DeMouey (Gainesville); his brother John T. Garrigues, Jr. and sister-in-law, Louise Garrigues (St. Petersburg); nieces Laura and Cathy, and a number of other relatives and close friends.
Robert was born on June 24th, 1934 in Kansas City, MO. After graduating from East High School in Kansas City, MO, he attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL for a year before joining the Army. From that time until his death, Robert was an avid supporter of our nation’s armed services and spoke often of how his time in the Army benefited him. After an honorable discharge, Robert enrolled and graduated with a Master’s of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He furthered his education by earning a Ph.D. in Academic Administration at Florida State University. He went on to work for the Board of Regents in Tallahassee before moving, with his wife and four children, to Gainesville in 1972.
Dr. Garrigues held top financial appointments in UF Health Science Center administration for 28 years, including the post of Associate Vice President for Finance and Operations, with responsibility for all of the center’s financial, operational and physical plant functions. Dr. G. was always interested in his employees’ lives, celebrating the joys and accomplishments and mourning the sorrows. Everyone who worked for him knew that work was a safe haven where they would be cared for and protected. His legacy as a university and college business officer and financial planner can be seen in the state-of-the-art buildings that surround the UF Health Science Center.
After a reorganization of the Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs in 1998, Dr. Garrigues transitioned to the role of Associate Dean of Administrative Affairs and Lecturer at the College of Health Professions, as the college was then known. His leadership contributions included serving as interim chair of the physical therapy department and as residency coordinator for the master’s in health administration program.
For Dr. Garrigues, one of the most gratifying aspects of his career was teaching courses in the college’s undergraduate health science program, which he continued to do well after his retirement as Associate Dean in 2003. He received the college’s Teacher of the Year award in 2002 and the Teaching Excellence Award in 2015. During his tenure he taught US Healthcare Systems and a Leadership course he developed himself. He was also an avid user of social media, using it specifically to keep up with the personal and professional lives of his former students.
Robert also had a very fulfilling life outside of the University of Florida. He was a member of several local troops in the Boy Scouts of America, serving as Assistant Scoutmaster for many years, and camping and hiking with his two sons, Rob and John. Robert was also active at Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville, serving on the Finance Committee, singing in the Chancel Choir, founding and teaching the Covenant Adult Sunday School class, and serving as a Youth Counselor during all the years his children attended the Methodist Youth Fellowship. He also spent several years playing the role of Drosselmeyer in Dance Alive’s annual performance of The Nutcracker as a way to be involved in his daughters’ activities.
One of Robert’s greatest passions was the performing arts. He was a gifted singer, guitar player and actor, and he passed his love of music to his children and grandchildren. In 1976, his wife, Margaret, wanting him to get out from underfoot, told him to “find a hobby”. He did just that when he auditioned for the Gainesville Community Playhouse (then known as the Gainesville Little Theater) production of Oklahoma! and was cast as the surly Judd Fry. That moment was the beginning of his life-long involvement with theater in Gainesville as an actor, director, board member, and President for Life. Perhaps his greatest personal achievement, outside of his children and grandchildren, was his instrumental role in the construction of the Vam York Theater at the Gainesville Community Playhouse, where he spearheaded the effort to raise $750,000 for the project.
Most importantly, Robert loved his family. He spent his whole life as a man of integrity who could not be moved away from honesty; never falling when faced with temptation of any kind. He always held firm to the principles of his seminary teachings, and was a living example of loving your neighbor as yourself. He will be greatly missed.
There will be a Celebration of Life service for Dr. Garrigues on Saturday, August 25th at 11 AM with a reception to follow at Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville, FL.