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Robert Kevin Alliston, 66, passed away Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at Blodgett  Spectrum Health (Select Specialty Hospital) in Grand Rapids, with his family at his side.

The son of Ira & Alice (Durnin) Alliston, he was born June 30, 1952 in Ferndale, MI. In the spring of 1980 he married Mary Ann Walters in Grand Rapids MI and together they shared thirty-eight years of marriage. 

He will be remembered for his sense of humor, his kindness, his courage, his zest for living, his love of family and friends, his indomitable spirit, his ability to have meaningful conversations with everyone he met, and his near-constant humming and whistling.

Bob was diagnosed with a rare craniofacial cancer in 1989 and over the past 29 years underwent numerous surgeries, hospital stays, rehabs, excruciating pain from daily migraines, and finally long-term care for his worn-out body. Through it all he maintained a remarkable joy for living, and he always worried about how his illness affected his wife and children.

His life was a master class in how to live with grace under circumstances that would break most of us. Rest well, dear Bobby, you’ve earned it.

Robert is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Alliston; children, James & Adrienne Alliston, and Tess & Tom Dodd; most beloved grandson, Ari. Also brothers, Dave & Linda Alliston (nieces Betsy & Lauren), Bill & Myra Alliston, Steve & Paula Alliston (nieces Jill & her daughter Maci, Julie, and Elaine):  and sister, Jeannie Alliston (nephew Trent & Yuki, their sons Shion & Kai). Bob is also survived by longtime friends, Bill & Sue Lee, Dale & Kay Moser, and Al & Laura Wetherell. Their constant friendship and concern for helping Mary Ann throughout the years made Bob so happy – you had a very special place in his heart.

Honoring his wishes cremation has taken place. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Robert’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, MI.


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.

12 Condolences

  1. Mary Ann on October 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    I love you, Bobby. I will miss you forever.

  2. Mary Davids Willer on October 5, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    To the toughest Viking ever. You fought the battle with your dear wife by your side. You showed us all the meaning of enduring love and devotion MaryAnn. We have lost a dear friend and class leader of the class of 71. Rest In Peace. True Love Never Dies

  3. Jack Cichy on October 5, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    How very true – “…His life was a master class in how to live with grace under circumstances that would break most of us.” Our condolences to the Alliston family – God Bless Bob and his family.
    Karen and Jack Cichy

  4. Stephany Looper on October 6, 2018 at 9:40 am

    When I first met Bob 7 years ago, the first thing he said to was….if you don’t understand what I am saying, please don’t be afraid to ask me to repeat it. I knew right then what a remarkable man he was. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. He never lost his sense of humor. I am blessed to have known Bob.

  5. Shirley Zeitter on October 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Bob was every bit the personality described in his obituary during the time I knew him at Davenport College. After all he endured may he rest in peace. May his family finds peace.

  6. Charlotte Slotta on October 7, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I am so sorry for you loss. My family and I are longtime friends with Linda and Dave Alluston. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Hold onto faith and know God is with you.

  7. Claudia on October 8, 2018 at 8:21 am

    remembering Bob’s never ending sense of humor, he gave joy to many…..wishing you, Mary Ann, and your children a long awaited sense of peace. Bless you, Bob!!
    Hugs to all.

  8. Dianne & Rob Nanzig (Thauer) on October 16, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Maryann, Tess and family, we are saddened to hear of Bobs passing. We wish you peace, comfort and prayers at this time.
    Dianne & Rob

  9. Mary Passinault on October 22, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    My love, prayers, and sympathy to all the family, especially to Tess. I remember your father from the years you were in IHM School and your parents were so supportive of you. His concerns for you at parent teacher conferences and his conversations and humor were always delightful. May he now be at peace and joy filled in the presence of the Lord. Love and prayers from your fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Mary Passinault

  10. Mary Frahm on October 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Mary Ann & family, I am so sorry for your loss. Bob was truly one of a kind. He had a great sense of humor which at times was quirky and always made me laugh or roll my eyes. He had such a kind heart & his courage and joy of life through all his difficulties was inspiring to all. He deserves to Rest In Peace now and will always be remembered.

  11. Lynne Heinz on October 23, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Dear MaryAnn & Family,
    I was so sorry to read about Bob’s death. It has been many, many years since I worked with Bob at Holly’s Landing. I worked in the office along with Dave Grunst, Dave Andre, Mike Vandebogert, and Jack Cichy. Bob always said he did so well “because I trained him so well”…Even though it has been many years, I remember Bob and enjoyed working with him because of his sense of humor and his eagerness to learn and help.

    I was sorry to hear about how ill he had been, but it doesn’t surprise me about how concerned he was about his family. Bob will be watching over you and you will feel his presence from time to time which will put a smile in your heart and on your face! Peace to you.

  12. Kathy Cullens on October 29, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    MaryAnn and family,
    It has been so long since we’ve been in touch. So sorry for your loss. My memories of Bob are fun yet filled with pain.
    May God’s Peace be with Bob and His Grace be with you and your family.
    Kathy Cullens

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