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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.


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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.

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