Robert E. Gussner, age 87, died on March 24, 2018 at the VNA Respite House in Colchester, following recent complications of Parkinson's Disease. The son of Erwin and Louise Gussner, he was born on March 2, 1931 in Hawley, MN. Bob (known to many as Jina) graduated from Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) in 1953. He played guard for the Hamline Pipers basketball team and helped them win the MIAC basketball conference all 4 years he played. In 1994, Bob was inducted into the Hamline Athletic Hall of Fame. He received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from Boston University in 1957 and earned his PhD in comparative religion at Harvard University in 1973. Bob was a Unitarian minister in Stoughton, MA from 1960 to 1964. During the late 1950's, he was a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and helped organize peace action projects and non-violent direct action for civil rights in the South. From 1969 to 1996, he was a professor of comparative world religions at the University of Vermont. He took sabbatical in India in 1977 and returned there several times over the following 2 decades. In 1983 he took meditation initiation with Osho Rajneesh and was given the name Swami Anand Jina. Following his retirement, he continued to write and feed his keen mind. He received tremendous satisfaction from teaching others, particularly about meditation and awareness.
Bob was predeceased by his wife of 20 years, Joan Low. He is survived by his children from his first marriage to Carol Jorgensen: Linda Gussner and her husband, Brad Kowalski, of Cascade, ID and Timothy Gussner and his partner, Lin McNamara, of Sacramento, CA. He is also survived by his stepchildren and their spouses: Paul & Jane Low of Monkton, VT; Jack & Kathy Low of Rindge, NH; and Lynda & Curt Solsvig of Stamford, CT; as well as 8 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter just born on his birthday, March 2, 2018.
A celebration of his life will be planned for the summer. The family wishes to thank the loving care provided to him by the staff at the Respite House and requests that donations be made to the VNA Respite House, 3113 Roosevelt Highway, Colchester, VT 05446.