Bob Grisham passed away from a sudden aortic aneurysm on Sunday, January 22, 2023, near his new home in Goodyear, Arizona. Bob was planning on enjoying the next chapter of his life and newfound retirement in his long awaited desert home.
Born on April 26, 1954, Bob was born to Raymond and Hilda Grisham. The importance of family and hard work was instilled at a young age growing up with his brother, Richard Grisham, on their family farm. He carried his close relationship to family throughout his life.
Beginning in adolescence, he excelled in all things related to sports. Bob graduated from Canby-Union High School in Oregon in 1972 where he excelled in basketball. After graduation, he played two years at Clackamas Community College before finishing his career at the College of Idaho, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1976. He went on to complete a Master of Arts in Athletic Administration at Western Washington University in 1985.
Bob embraced life with positivity and charisma. He had a love for family, friends, sports, and life itself. He kept himself active playing tennis, golf and yoga. His spirit for life never wavered. At the center of Grisham’s experiences, the close relationships he formed were the most substantial.
Bob was the longtime, and recently retired St. Martin’s University Athletic Director. For more than 37 years, Grisham was a champion for athletics at SMU, the local community, and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Bob began his tenure at SMU in 1985 as an admissions counselor and women’s basketball coach. In 1986, he transitioned to the university’s athletic director and head men’s basketball coach, a position he held for 17 years. As athletic director, Grisham oversaw the expansion of SMU’s programs from two to the current 15 sports with over 250 student athletes. Under his leadership, the Saints experienced historic success both on and off the court, the field, and the course. During his 37 years, SMU saw five conference championships, 14 regional appearances, and three national appearances. Additional achievements included several All-Academic championships, All-Conference selections, All-Americans, and the University’s first ever NCAA National Champion in 2016.
Bob’s professional achievements were vast and something to be proud of, but first and foremost, he was a proud and devoted father. Both of his daughters cherished their dad and the time they spent together. Although he was taken away from them too soon, the amount of love and joy Bob brought into their lives will stay with them always. He taught them to live life with spirit, patience, and passion. Grisham was a pillar of strength and beacon of light in the family. His daughters will not only miss the father that raised them but the man who was their best friend.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents Raymond and Mahilda (Hilda) Grisham. Bob is survived by his two adult daughters Nicole Grisham, SMU graduate, and Taylor Grisham, Pepperdine University graduate; Brother Richard Grisham (wife, Terresa); nephews Jason Grisham and Brad Grisham (wife, Vanessa); nieces Amy Grisham and Tracey Grisham; as well as great niece, great nephew, many cousins; ex-wife and friend Shellyne Grisham and stepson Evan Shockman.
Grisham’s presence will forever be missed. Whether he was your friend, coach, or family Bob’s impact was undeniable. He had the power to make everyone feel important and inspired the good in people. Through his warming smile, infectious laugh, and lust for life, Bob made the world a brighter place. He will not only be missed by his loved ones, but the community at large.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 11, 2023, beginning at 2 p.m. at Marcus Pavilion on the SMU campus. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in his memory to the SMU Grisham Legacy Scholarship Fund.