July 7, 1950 - August 4, 2005
We are sorry to report the passing of Robert Daniel Gagnat on August 4, 2005. Rob was born in Eugene, Oregon on July 7, 1950, and moved while very young to West Seattle where he lived with his father Robert (Bob), mother Hazel, and older sister Susan. The family moved to the Sunnydale area in 1957, long before 12th Ave. S became the third runway at SeaTac. During the 1950s and '60s, Sunnydale, with its creeks, small farms and many fields and gullies, was a peaceful and fun place for kids to roam. That Rob did, often seen riding by on his bicycle after working his paper route. Three younger sisters joined the family after Rob. He spent time in the summers with his grandparents Dan and Ellen Nesmith in the tiny town of Vaughn, Oregon, fishing the creeks, hanging out by the mill log pond, or trying to catch bats in the field barns. The family also frequently visited the Longview/Kelso area of southwest Washington where both Bob and Hazel were raised.
Rob graduated from Highline High School in 1968, and enlisted in the Navy. During the Vietnam era he served stateside, then returned here and enrolled in electrical engineering at Highline Community College. Rob liked to take road trips; he traveled throughout the West and especially loved the Pacific Northwest beaches at Shi Shi and Seaview.
Rob found his life's work at Seattle City Light. In the Appliance Service section for many years, Rob took great joy in helping people from all backgrounds, especially the elderly. He was a journeyman in metering when he passed away. Rob was a very active IBEW Local 77 member and served as a shop steward and a delegate to the King County and State Labor Councils. He was very committed to the union's work, and spent many passionate hours working on different issues and campaigns.
Rob met his future wife Denise Stowell in Ellensburg, and they said they both went 126 miles to find a partner who lived 5 miles away. They married in 1981 and made their first home in Seattle, where son David was born in 1983. They moved near Renton in 1984 and there daughter Leilani joined the family.
Rob loved music, and played the banjo, harmonica and in youth, the trumpet. He was a thinker and a philosopher, taking inspiration from diverse sources including Lopsang Rampa, Carlos Castaneda and Frederick Nietzsche. Rob was a country man at heart, evidenced in his ever-present suspenders and colorful handkerchiefs and caps.
Rob was a bright, generous and kind man. He loved to play poker, drink coffee and talk with anyone, anytime. He had a kind heart and never turned away someone in need. Rob is survived by his wife of 24 years, Denise Stowell Gagnat, and their children, David Robert and Leilani Denielle. His mother Hazel Gagnat, and sisters Carol, Nancy and Barbara Gagnat also survive him. He was preceded in death by his father Bob and sister Susan. He also leaves numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts and uncles along with many friends and colleagues. We will miss him greatly.
Rob's life was celebrated in a memorial service held August 14 in Seattle. Donations are welcome in his name to the IBEW-PAC, or to a charity that helped your family. An online guest book is available in the Seattle PI obituary section.