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Robert “Bob” Martin Koivisto, 82, was welcomed into the loving arms of his Lord and Savior after 117 days in the hospital following complications after surgery. He was born at the Naval Hospital Portsmouth in VA to Martin Matthew Koivisto of Ishpeming, MI and Myrtle Edna Maring of Ponca City, OK. When he was two years old, he lost his father, a Lieutenant Commander on the USS Peary, when the ship was sunk off the coast of Australia while defending Darwin Harbor in WWII. Bob’s mother did not remarry, remaining widowed for the remainder of her life.
He grew up in San Diego, CA and discovered his talent for music as a member of the Bonham Brothers’ Boys Band, He learned to play the trombone and baritone in the youth marching band and frequently performed at Balboa Park and the Rose Bowl.
After graduating from San Diego State High School, Bob attended UCLA where he became a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, was a Bruins Yell Leader, and played in the marching band. After getting a degree in Communications from San Diego State University, he met the love of his life, Sandra Kay Nightingale, and they were married on April 13, 1962. He used to love to say that he knew she was the one for him in the first 15 minutes of their meeting each other.
They moved to Dallas, TX, where Bob attended Dallas Theological Seminary and obtained his Master of Theology degree. After getting his Teaching Certificate at the University of Nevada in Reno, Bob got a job teaching high school students at Scott Memorial Baptist Church in San Diego, CA, which was the precursor to Christian Heritage College (San Diego Christian College), founded by Pastor Tim LaHaye. He later taught Speech and Debate at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista, CA.
Enamored with the beauty of the PNW, he moved his family to Everson, WA in 1974 and worked as a janitor for Fisher Elementary School in Lynden, WA. Two years later, he started Koivisto Construction and spent the next 42 years in the building and remodeling business. He never lost his love for music and travelled weekly over the Canadian border to practice and perform with the Abbotsford Concert Band.
Bob also enjoyed singing, ballroom dancing, musical theatre, museums, and traveling, and took his family on many trips, including Hawaii, Mexico, Guatemala, Banff and to visit relatives in Finland. He loved a great adventure, whether it was exploring nature or an epicurious one, feeding the hummingbirds, working in his garden, and always, always, a good pun! But most of all, he loved his family. He is survived by his wife and four children: Kariisa (Gary) Martin, Analiisa (Karl) Reichlin, Joshua (Jennifer) Koivisto, and Mariisa (Grant) Bonsen, and 10 grandchildren: Sírre, Jared, Nathan, Rob, Natalie, Kobe, Cameron, Macie, Emerie, and Cash.
His passion for telling those around him about the forgiving grace of Jesus was present until his final breath, and more than anything wanted those he met to be sure of where they would spend eternity.
“Because he lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because he lives all fear is gone,
Because I know, I know he holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because he lives.”
We are blessed in the certainty that Bob has no more tomorrows, only todays.
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