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Robbie Gallinger

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

Robbie was born January 19th, 1950 to Robert Henry Gallinger and Loretta Joanne White Gallinger in Lewistown, Illinois. He spent many of his growing years in Steamboat, Colorado where his heart always seemed to remain. He graduated from Lewistown, Illinois, class of 1969. Soon after, Robbie met and married his first wife of 10 years, Rhonda (Weaver) Gallinger and had 2 children, Jerah and Kyle and settled in the Canton, Il area. He worked for the State of Illinois and the City of Canton doing road, bridge, tree and snow work. He labored in construction for a bit before deciding to go back to school at Spoon River Junior College and Illinois Central College to begin his life career in Wastewater Reclamation. He worked for the City of Canton Wastewater Plant.

Downhill skiing and cycling were the activities that Robbie enjoyed most. He learned to ski very young while in Steamboat and that love continued throughout his life. Cycling was his off season sport and he did many century rides, and loved to pedal through town and bike trails. Robbie’s parenting style was always to teach through doing. He maintained a substantial garden that provided lots of opportunity for his boys, Jerah and Kyle, to learn the lessons of hard work and self-sufficiency. He paired this with the sweet reward of traveling and doing fun outdoor activities together like kite flying, biking, skiing and hiking.

On a ski trip in 1990 Robbie met Kathy Gilbert and so began a new chapter in his life. He married Kathy in 1994 and moved to West Des Moines, Iowa. He continued his career by working at the City of Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority. The move from a small rural town to a suburb of a large city in addition to working the ‘graveyard” shift overnight was rather shocking, but he found creative ways to integrate into this new family life. Robbie embraced Kathy’s children, Jeff and Jennifer, and shared his love and support through consistent presence at their activities, game playing like Dominos, tv and movie watching, and enjoying family trips together.

The name Pappa was a sweet sounding word he heard from his grandchildren. He loved them with his whole heart and played with them in his goofy childlike manner, however; he seemed to always impart important life lessons, like the Y in the road.

Robbie often said, and lived the quote, “Time is Precious”. Where he spent his time is where his heart was. Family was most important but he also did many things outside of work and home. This man never knew a stranger. He easily spoke to people from all walks of life, especially anyone in the armed forces. He was a man grateful for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. He loved coffee and could be found almost daily at Panera enjoying his morning brew. Robbie also enjoyed Blues, Cajun and Zydeco music and frequented events to fill his soul with joy. Over 300,000 miles were enjoyed on his BMW motorcycles all across the nation, attending rallies, or just road tripping. Robbie cherished his involvement with the Boy Scout Troop 43 out of Urbandale, where he supported his grandson, Izaac, and very much enjoyed the camaraderie of the adult leaders, the camping, and the chance to impart his wisdom to the young men. Robbie was also a lifelong Mason and was involved in Gnemeth Lodge, Valley Junction.

The mountains always seemed to call Robbie and he sped toward the horizons, breezed the canyons, and leaned in to the switchbacks on his motorcycle. His skis sliced through the corduroy groom of an early morning fresh run, floated through the powder, and swung underneath him as he rode the chairlifts happily chatting away with his wife, his family, and anyone and everyone. All the while enjoying the great gift of nature from God, and taking side trips in search of beauty and light. Robbie had a quiet private faith that he lived out through serving others; family, neighbors, friends and church. Robbie was loved and respected, his absence will be felt by many and in many ways.

A Celebration of life service will be held at West Des Moines United Methodist Church at 11:00am on Thursday February 17th, 2022. family will be available to greet guests beginning at 10:00. After the service, a luncheon will be served in Robbie’s memory. Memorial donations may be made directed to the family to support causes important to Robbie.

Preceded in death by:

Father, Robert Henry (“Puffer”) Gallinger

Mother, Loretta Joanne (Jo) Gallinger

Grandma Gertrude (Gertie) Gallinger

Grandpa Ralph Gallinger

Aunt Virginia Grzanich

Uncle Stanko Grzanich

Aunt Pat Johnson

Uncle Ron Johnson

Cousin Gregory Gallinger


Wife Kathy Gilbert Gallinger of West Des Moines

Stepson Jeff Gilbert, (Michelle), Chloe (14), Urbandale

Stepdaughter Jennifer Hawkins, Izaac (15), Ankeny

Son Kyle Gallinger, (Tressy), Iris (8) Violet (3), West Des Moines

Son Jerah Sheets, (Jarrod), Jasper (10), Des Moines

Cousin Shaaron Metzger Groveland, IL

Cousin Randy Gallinger Trivoli, IL

The service will be lived streamed. Please go here to view:


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