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Gilbert Twiest, 1937 - 2021

Fern Davies

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Dr. Gilbert L. Twiest, 83, of Shippenville, passed away at Indiana Regional Medical Center on Jan. 7, 2021.


Born on April 23, 1937, in Muskegon, Mich., he was the son of August and Mildred Bond Twiest.

He married Linda Dancz in 1958 and was married for 58 years.

Gilbert received his undergraduate degree and master’s degree at Michigan State University and his Ph.D. at the University of Toledo.

Gilbert was a faculty member of the biology department at Clarion University from 1968 to 1998 during which time he worked closely with educators and scientists. He was an active scholar and provided service to a great number of organizations as well as influencing thousands of his students throughout the years. He was president of the Council for Elementary Science International and was a founding member and board member from 1994 to 1998 of the North American Nature Photography Association. He was also a lifelong member of the National Science Teachers Association and the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association, and active in the Audubon Society.

Gil worked closely with the McKeever Environmental Learning Center, teaching courses, giving lectures and exhibiting his photography there. An avid birder, ornithologist and photographer, Gilbert published several filmstrip series in the 1960s and ’70s, and later had his photographs featured in a variety of periodicals, including several that were chosen for covers. He was also proud of a photograph in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

He took great pride in his farm and worked tirelessly to keep it up. He was a renaissance man who taught both his sons construction techniques as well as plumbing and electrical skills. While on the farm, he built several pole structures with his sons. Gilbert also did woodworking and passed this hobby on to his sons. He enjoyed small-game hunting with the dogs he trained. Gilbert also had a great love of Chrysler automobiles. He attended the Hershey and Carlisle car shows for the past 30 years with friends and family while amassing a car collection of 20 vehicles.

Gilbert and Linda, who was his lifelong companion in living life to the fullest, traveled the world birding, including trips to Brazil, New Zealand and Mexico. He traveled extensively, traveling to all 49 states by RV, often with his two sons in their motorhomes. The longest of these trips was to Alaska where he was accompanied by both of his sons and their families for major portions of the excursion.

He valued family and family history and compiled books of letters, stories from his childhood and albums of pictures and gave them to his children and grandchildren.

Gilbert is survived by his sons, Dr. Mark G. Twiest and his wife, Dr. Meghan Twiest, of Home; and Capt. Bradley J. Twiest and his wife, Tracy Twiest, of Slippery Rock; his daughter Suely AF Rodrigues and her husband, Luiz CD Silviera, of Sao Paulo, Brazil; his grandchildren, Burkely (Twiest) Gallo and her husband, Jed Gallo, of Norman, Okla.; Kylie Twiest and fiance Nick Steele, of Cranberry; and Ben Twiest, of Slippery Rock; and Marianna and Julia Rodrigues-Silveira, of Sao Paulo.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Pam; his son-in-law David Emig; wife Linda; his parents; his brother Jack, of Muskegon; and sister Trudy, of Dayton, Ohio.

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