Thomas H. Robison (85), originally from Carbondale, KS and most recently of Topeka, died on June 25, 2019.
Tom was born October 23, 1933 in Topeka, KS, the son of Willard and Ethel (Smith) Robison. He attended Carbondale (KS) High School, graduated in 1951, and was a member of the State Championship Basketball Team in 1951. Tom married his high school sweetheart, Jean Dawson, on April 25, 1953 in Carbondale. Tom received his BA from Washburn University in 1958 and his Masters from Emporia State in 1963. He started his career as a basketball and football coach and taught high school chemistry and physics. His career bounced between education and working as a chemist in his own Cereal Testing Lab (Atchison, KS), Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant (DeSoto, KS) and the State of Kansas (KDOT in Topeka). Tom’s education and career pursuits had the family moving quite regularly. Over the course of their 66 year marriage, 24 moves have been documented that took them to Carbondale, Hiawatha, Centralia, Emporia, Atchison, Lawrence, Tecumseh and Topeka, Kansas – as well as brief tenures in Murfreesboro, TN and Lovelock, NV.
As a young man, Tom played competitive baseball and spent many hours at the pool hall. Years later, he would have a full size snooker table at the farm in Atchison. He played poker with a group of fellow teachers in Atchison for more than forty-five years. In 1977, he followed his three sons into running. Being “old school,” he ran the first 3 years in work boots before finally investing in his first pair of running shoes. He was a good Masters runner and had a couple of streaks where he went more than a year without missing a day of running. One of the highlights of his running life was the 1988 New York City Marathon, when all 4 of his kids and his brother Jack joined him to run that race. Another highlight was qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon in 1990.
Tom always had a love for dogs and enjoyed the companionship of Collies, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees, and Cocker Spaniels over the years. Many of them were his running partners, but only his last dog was allowed the comforts of being an inside dog. Sometimes Tom’s ideas of “fun” were questionable – picking up field corn, picking off potato bugs rather than spraying for them, going out to fix fences, weeding the garden in the summer heat, etc. All of these fun ventures involved the “eager” participation of his sons.
Tom had a great travel adventure with his son Jim as they went to China in 1996 to visit his friend Zhadai He. He also enjoyed several family vacations to the Bahamas, Walla Walla, WA, and Lake Tahoe. In retirement, Tom and Jean lived in Lawrence, Tecumseh, and Topeka, where they were always in close proximity to a casino.
Tom is survived by his wife Jean of the home, four children: Jan Kiehl (Kevin) of Topeka, KS, Jack Robison (Valerie) of Grand Junction, CO, Jerry Robison (Mary Ann) of Overland Park, KS, and Jim Robison of Topeka, KS, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren as well as one brother, Jack Robison of Lawrence, KS.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Mary Jungmann.
There will be no funeral service but a Celebration of Life event is planned for later this summer.