Honorable Robert S. Gilbert Obituary

Honorable Robert S. Gilbert
Honorable Robert S. Gilbert

September 30, 1927 - March 14, 2014
Resided in Saginaw, MI
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Robert Stedman (Bob) Gilbert died peacefully on March 14, 2014 at the James E. Cartwright Care Center in Saginaw, Michigan after a five month battle with pancreatic cancer. Bob was surrounded by his loving wife, children and brother. Bob taught us by example, how to live with dignity, integrity and passion. He showed us how to die with the same values and courage. He said the day before, he did not fear death. When told of his prognosis in October, Bob was quick to respond, "I have led a wonderful life and been married to the love of my life for 61 years. We have raised 3 great children. I have had a career of service and enjoyed 22 years of retirement. We have had a lot of fun. I'm ready."

Bob was born on September 30, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan to Ellen Bernice and Donald W. Gilbert. He attended Saginaw Public Schools. Following graduation from Arthur Hill High School in 1945, Mr. Gilbert entered the Army Air Corp where he attained the rank of sergeant before stealing his discharge papers in 1947. Bob graduated from the University of Michigan in 1950 and earned his law degree from U of M in 1953. He remained "true blue" his entire life, attending countless Wolverine football games and organizing the unofficial University of Michigan travelling Alumni Kazoo band which "performed" at many Big 10 stadiums.
A 40 year career of public service began in 1953 as an assistant prosecuting attorney. He served two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1956-60, following the footsteps of his father who was earlier elected to the Michigan Senate. He did not seek re-election in 1960 and chose to return to private practice and his young family in Saginaw. In 1966 he was elected to the position of Saginaw County Probate Judge. In 1980 he was elected to serve as Circuit Court Judge, a position he held until his retirement in 1992. During his judicial tenure, Bob proudly sat on Seat #22, the chair from the Michigan State Senate which his father had occupied. As a Saginaw News editorial noted upon his retirement, Judge Gilbert was "a soft-spoken man who won praise for his demeanor on both the circuit and probate benches. However, he spoke on behalf of young people almost in anger, reflecting the depth of the problems of the children passing through his system." Throughout his judicial career Judge Gilbert fought to improve conditions for troubled youth in Saginaw County.
This life-long youth advocate practiced what he preached. Bob always put kids first, his and everyone else's. Hundreds of adults now have countless stories of Dad, Uncle Bob and Judge Gilbert being there for them, helping them to; ride a bike, sail a boat, bait a hook , fly a plane, drive a gator, tell the truth, get the job or go to college. He was a positive influence on everyone he knew.
He will be missed by many, but especially his surviving family: his wife of 61 years, Mary Lu (Stark) Gilbert; his 3 children: Tom and Marsha (Smith) Gilbert of Traverse City, MI; Patty (Gilbert) and Jeff Weintraub of Scottsdale, AZ; Nancy (Gilbert) and Dave Otwell of Evanston, IL; 4 grandchildren: Bailey (Weintraub) and Paul Mittelstadt, Scottsdale, AZ; Taylor Aaron Weintraub of Asheville, NC; and Abi and Jamie Otwell of Evanston, IL. Bob is also mourned by his siblings: Jack and Mary Gilbert of Saginaw, MI; Carolyn (Gilbert) and Dan Habel of Traverse City, MI; and Sue Ellen Gilbert of Cortez, CO. He was solid, dependable, fun Uncle Bob to 9 nieces and nephews and their children who are now scattered across the country and mourn his loss.
A celebration of the life of Bob Gilbert will be held on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the Case Funeral Home, 4480 Mackinaw Rd. with the Rev. Nadine DeWitt officiating. Visitation will begin at 11:00 a.m. and the memorial service at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations in Bob's memory may be sent to:
The James E. Cartwright Care Center
3443 Hospital Road
Saginaw, MI 48603
Child Abuse & Neglect (CAN) Council Great Lakes Bay Region
Saginaw County
1311 N. Michigan Avenue
Saginaw, MI 48602

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W. L. Case and Company, Mackinaw
4480 Mackinaw Rd.
Saginaw Charter Township, MI United States 48603
Saturday, April 5, 2014
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
W. L. Case and Company, Mackinaw Funeral Chapel
4480 Mackinaw Rd.
Saginaw Charter Township, MI United States 48603
Saturday, April 5, 2014
2:00 PM


CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region
1311 N. Michigan Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48602
Cartwright Care Center
3443 Hospital Road
Saginaw, MI 48603