Robert J. Griep, M.D., Fel. ’67
Adapted from The Seattle Times, Feb. 29–30, 2010
Robert John Griep, a renowned physician and devoted husband and father, passed away on Jan. 23, 2010, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Bob was born in Glencoe, Minn., on Oct. 14, 1930, to John and Regina Griep. He joined the U.S. Air Force at 17. During his service, he helped test potential pilots’ medical and psychological fitness, which sparked a lifelong interest in medicine. Using the G.I. Bill, he attended the University of Texas, where he met his future wife of 51 years, Gretchen Kuhlmann.
Bob graduated with his M.D. from the University of Texas in 1958 and joined the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). He and Gretchen and their young children were stationed in San Francisco and Baltimore before settling in Seattle in 1963. Dr. Griep worked at the Seattle Public Health Service Hospital on Beacon Hill until its closure in 1982. He was honorably discharged from the PHS and continued treating patients at Pacific Medical Center (PMC) and other medical institutions until he retired in 1999. During his time at the Seattle PHS/PMC he served in various roles, including chief of medicine, director of medical education, and the head of the nuclear medicine department. He also became an associate professor of medicine and radiology at the University of Washington.Dr. Griep was regarded nationally as an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease, and one of his great joys was mentoring interns and residents. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Gretchen, in 2006; his daughter Ellen Griep in 1983; and his grandson Kyle Backus in 2008. Bob is survived by his three sons: Jon (Joy), Karl and Martin (Natsuko), and his daughter Theresa (Jay) Backus. He also is survived by his grandchildren: Martin’s children, Nicholas and Ellie, Theresa’s children, Greg and Dana, and Jon’s children, Evan and Eileen.
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