July 16, 1947 - May 3, 2024


attachment-Robert Trisko

A father, a husband, a mentor, a partner, a friend. Robert (Bob) C. Trisko was extraordinary, a rare gem who was an eternal optimist and exuded genuine joy, wonderment and dynamic energy that will be etched deep in the memories of all those who crossed his path.

Bob Trisko passed away unexpectedly on Friday, May 3, 2024, at the youthful age of 76.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place Saturday, May 11, 2024 at 11:00 AM at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, St. Cloud, MN. Visitation will be at Benson Funeral Home on Friday, May 10, 2024 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM and from 9:30 to 11:00 AM on Saturday at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. With Bob’s luminous life, the family encourages visitors to wear vibrant colors to the visitation and service.

Bob was born on July 16, 1947, at Melrose Hospital to Bernard (Ben) and Veronica Trisko (Spehn) of Greenwald, MN. Growing up, Bob enjoyed the outdoors, gardening, and creating dishes in the kitchen. He attended Melrose High School and obtained bachelor’s degrees in art and mathematics from St. Cloud State College. He held a variety of jobs during this time including working at the Del Monte canning plant, Fandel’s Department Store, and the St. Cloud Parks Department. He would later obtain a master’s degree plus 45 credits in sculpture from St. Cloud State College. Bob assumed he would pursue an occupation in architecture, but quickly realized it was not his true calling and he set out to be a public-school teacher.

In 1970, he began teaching art and math at South Junior High School in St. Cloud and would continue as an educator over the next 12 years. He had a tremendous love for teaching and was often described as a student favorite. Bob saw his students’ unique strengths and encouraged them to exercise their creativity. Years later he would be approached by many former students who remembered how much joy and passion he brought to the classroom. During this time, he also began tinkering with jewelry making using horseshoe nails, and would soon graduate to gold, silver and precious stones to build his creations. What was initially a hobby would soon grow into an elaborate business and career that would span over 50 years. While teaching full-time, Bob launched Trisko Jewelry Sculptures in 1973, which offered innovative custom jewelry to the public. Both modern and functional, he created wearable art. He began entering various juried art fairs and competitions throughout the country. Through the decades he would go on to win hundreds of awards. Some of his most notable distinctions include being selected in 1986 as a top U.S.A. artist to exhibit designs in an international show in Paris, France; being accepted into the Smithsonian Arts & Crafts Exhibition held in Washington, D.C. in both 1997 and 2005; and his work was featured in the highly regarded Lapidary Journalin 2000 and 2002. Although he valued the accolades, he was by far more honored that the jewelry he created was a part of a customer’s celebratory event, a special milestone, or even aided in someone’s grief.

His business and subsequent travels would allow him to meet and form lasting relationships with thousands of people from all walks of life. These connections and special bonds were what brought such pleasure and success to his business.

In 1973, he would marry Helen Vossen of Watkins and go on to have two children, Joshua (1981) and Jenna (1983). As the kids grew, he shared with them his love of nature and entomology. He had a grand sense of humor which he passed down to his children. He was also actively involved in their many hobbies and school activities. Helen and Bob also shared a passion for art and real estate and would purchase and renovate many properties together throughout the years.

Beyond all his personal and professional successes, Bob was a larger-than-life guy, flashy yet incredibly humble and down-to-earth. If you ever saw him, you were guaranteed to always be greeted with the warmest of smiles. He was approachable and incredibly funny. He loved to talk with people no matter what the topic. As his children became adults, he was notorious for calling them with the most random of thoughts just to have an opportunity to connect. He was not a fan of technology, so he was always mailing letters, cards, and little trinkets just to say he was thinking about them.

His favorite song was “Don’t Worry Be Happy” which became a life motto. He was a big personality with a heart to match. He impacted so many lives, whether through his jewelry or just a random casual conversation. He lived fully up until the very end. It was a tremendous gift to know him, to be surrounded by his passionate and vibrant energy. He was truly a rare gem.

As the great American Humorist, Erma Bombeck once said, “When I stand before Godat the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.” Bob certainly did just that.

He is preceded in death by his parents Ben and Veronica Trisko. He is survived by his wife, Helen; son, Josh (Brittany); daughter, Jenna (Benjamin); grandchildren Regan, Max, and Ayden; former daughter-in-law, Angela “Angie” (mother of grandchildren Regan and Max); along with his five brothers and sisters: Renee Heutmaker (Art), Karen Meagher (Joe), Glen (Yvonne), Gerald (Linda), and Deborah Eich (Ken).

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Tri-County Humane Society, Ruff Start Rescue, St. Benedicts Monastery, and any arts-related non-profits. If flowers are preferred, please avoid lilies as Bob was allergic.

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