Robin Roy Grinnell
On All Saints Day, the world lost a beautiful saint. Robin Roy Grinnell succumbed to pulmonary fibrosis in Mankato, Minnesota, on November 1, 2019. He was surrounded by family and died peacefully in the early morning hours.

Robin was a man of many skills, kindness, and generosity who took great pride and satisfaction in his family. He was born to Jack and Swanhild (Friswold) Grinnell on July 21, 1932 on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, the second of three boys. He grew up roaming the woods in Wisconsin and Indiana with his brothers Sheldon and Alan, learning to shoot, throw knives and axes, and crack a whip. He served in the U.S. Army at the end of the Korean war, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from Purdue University. He was a man who could fix anything. Robin went on to earn his Master's at the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. from Purdue. He taught Ag Engineering at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, for six years and Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California, for another 30. He retired in 1997, and moved to Minnesota in 2003 to be closer to his grandkids.

In 1959, he married Synnøve Johansen, from Bjugn, Norway, whom he met at Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota. He was devoted to her for the rest of his life; they were married 60 years. In their later years, residents of St. Peter would often see them walking around town hand in hand.

Robin and Synnøve had four sons, Richard (Leigh Williams), Jon (Barb Franchino), Scott (Mollie Netherland), and Christopher (Missy Culver), and five grandchildren (Kalen, Leif, Eleanor, Kaeana, and Elise). In the 1970s and 1980s Robin was heavily involved in his sons' Boy Scout troop, restoring an old Air Force bus for their use and famously teaching them to make fires with flint and steel in the rain. He taught rock-climbing and wilderness survival, and enjoyed taking his sons backpacking into the high Sierra mountains with his brothers Alan, Sheldon and Sheldon's kids. He was active in his church (Mt Carmel Lutheran, San Luis Obispo; Trinity Lutheran, St. Peter), and in Sons of Norway. He enjoyed photography, traveling to Norway, reading fantasy novels, and playing the accordion, but loved nothing more than being surrounded by family at his northwoods cabin on Lake Vermilion. He enjoyed his life, and lived it well.
Published on November 11, 2019


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Dec 13, 2019
Memorial trees were planted in memory of Robin Roy Grinnell.  Plant a tree
Connie Eberly
Nov 21, 2019
A memorial tree was planted in memory of Robin Roy Grinnell.  Plant a tree
Nov 16, 2019
A memorial tree was planted in memory of Robin Roy Grinnell.  Plant a tree
Donna Lee Loper
Nov 13, 2019
I remember my dad and Robin working together on the Boy Scout Bus, being active in the Scouts and helping to make those trips happen. Thank you to Robin for being a good friend to my dad and for supporting the boys in all the activities of growing up on the Central Coast. We have missed you since you left, may your memories of a wonderful life, husband and father keep you and sustain you always. My prayers and thoughts are with you during this difficult time. I wish you peace. Donna
Sandy Ahearn
Nov 12, 2019
What a caring man. He and my husband Dennis were great supporters of Boy Scouts troop 322. Thank you Robin
Martha williams
Nov 11, 2019
A memorial tree was planted in memory of Robin Roy Grinnell.  Plant a tree
Chris Grinnell
Nov 09, 2019