Robert L. Garrison

Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2010

Robert L Garrison, 89, passed away on March 8, 2010, surrounded by his family.

He was born March 2, 1921, in Castle Rock, Wash. From 1940-1945, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard. For the five years, he worked odd jobs in Washington and Oregon. In 1949, on a whim, he came to Alaska. While in Juneau, he met Donna Foland and they were married March 24, 1950. A daughter and two sons soon anchored his life in the community.

Garrison worked in Juneau as a bartender, milkman and building custodian. In 1981, he retired from the Alaska Department of Labor after 25 years of service. It was at this point that Garrison was able to devote himself to being a "professional hiker." His family could only get him to come up with three known peaks that he had not climbed in his 40-plus years of hiking - and so, of course, that's where he wants his ashes spread.

He also was a steward of the trails and served on the board of Trail Mix, an organization maintaining local hiking trails. His "hiking family" was very dear to him and he counted the time he spent with them as very precious. The family can't thank this group enough for the many hours they spent with Bob during the final weeks. His immediate family enjoyed listening to the stories, experiences and laughs they shared with him.

Garrison's biggest lifetime accomplishment was his dedication to improving his community. On his many evening walks to the docks, he proudly greeted and assisted visitors to Juneau. He enriched Assembly meetings by adding his voice on important community issues. His testimony and attendance was so regular at those meetings that the body made him an honorary Assembly member. He was known for his countless hours of work with beautification and litter-control efforts. A member of Litter Free, Inc. he was considered their "volunteer extraordinaraire." In 2001, he received Litter Free, Inc.'s Lifetime Achievement Award.

For his many years of volunteer service to the community and the state, he received numerous awards. In 1978, the community of Juneau recognized his spirit of service and Mayor William Overstreet presented him with a certificate of appreciation. In 1985, he received the governor's volunteer award. In 1986, he was recognized by the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce as Citizen of the Year, and in 2005 he was awarded lifetime membership to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

He lived his life by the motto on his business cards, "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, 'Holy s---, what a ride!'"

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Donna, and son, David. He is survived by David's partner, Kris Moore of Kodiak; his daughter, Diana Reid and husband, Jim; son, Bruce Garrison and wife, Raydene; and grandchildren: Charlie Reid, Gary Reid, Matthew Garrison and Carly Garrison of Juneau, and Jenna Davidson and husband Ryan of Oregon.

A celebration of his life will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 28, at Centennial Hall.

The family can be contacted c/o Donna Reid, 9330 Northland St., Juneau, AK 99801. E-mail address:

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that donations may be made to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau, 419 Sixth St., Juneau, AK, 99801; Trail Mix, Inc., PO Box 35693, Juneau, AK, 99803; or Litter Free, Inc., PO Box 22043, Juneau AK, 99802.

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