Robert Merrill Garvin

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Service Information
Tebbutt and Frederick Memorial Home
633 Central Avenue
Albany, NY

Garvin, Robert Merrill ALBANY Professor Robert Merrill Garvin, beloved father, grandfather, mentor and friend, died peacefully in his sleep on July 10, 2016. He was born in St. Johnsbury, Vt. on September 5, 1929. He received his B.A. from Westminster College, Pa., master of sacred theology degree from Union Theological Seminary, (where he studied with his great teacher Paul Tillich) and his Ph.D in philosophy from Columbia University. Bob served as associate minister at First Presbyterian Church in Albany, his spiritual home, in the late 1950's and early 1960's, after which he taught as a tenured professor in the Philosophy Department of the State University of New York at Albany for 37 years. His areas of focus were Asian philosophy and religion, cultural diversity (Peru and Bali), philosophy and technology and philosophy of person. Bob was a beloved professor and mentor to generations of students whom he encouraged to address their lives as spiritual journeys, and to be open to cultural diversity and pluralism. He was known for lecturing in exotic clothing from his travels in Asia and South America, for sharing slides and stories of his travels and for his beautiful photographs of sacred places in Japan, India, Nepal, China, Bali and Peru. Bob was predeceased by his father, Jay Stewart Garvin; mother, Caroline Elizabeth Gibson; sister, Jean Stewart Garvin; wife, Carolyn Hulse Garvin; and daughter, Michele Jean Garvin. He leaves behind his daughter, Christine Marie Flandera of Delmar; son, Paul Stewart Garvin (Karen) of Springfield, Va.; partner, Dr. Juliette Gutmann of Albany; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held for Bob at First Presbyterian Church of Albany, 362 State St. Albany, on August 13, 2016, at 11 a.m. Bob's family wishes to thank Sunnyview Rehabilitation Center and St. Peter's Rehabilitation and Nursing Home for the exceptional compassionate care he received during his last months of life. Donations in Bob's memory may be made to Habitat for Humanity, Chapel House at Colgate University, 13 Oak Dr., Hamilton, NY 13346, and St. Peter's Rehabilitation and Nursing Home, 301 Hackett Blvd., Albany, NY 12208. To leave the family an online condolence please visit

Published in Albany Times Union from July 17 to Aug. 11, 2016
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