Thomas Edward Robinson, husband, father, grand-father, teacher, coach, athletics commissioner, sports official, and stalwart supporter of education and the arts, has passed on April 4, 2022 at the age of 76 with his family at his side.
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Tom was a student at Sacred Heart and Regis Jesuit High School. As a student at Regis he studied Latin, was named to the football All-State team, and was Prom King in 1964 (with his Prom Queen, Cleo Parker, who later became his wife in 1970). A 1969 graduate of Colorado State University (CSU), Tom was an All American running back and corner back which earned him the nickname “The Bomb”. He also ran track and played basketball, while earning his degree in mathematics. He subsequently became a recruiter for the CSU football team, and later a Board member. He earned his master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Denver in 1982. After his graduation from CSU, Tom tried out for the NFL San Francisco 49ers, but a devastating injury brought him back to Denver where he married Cleo Jo Ann Parker (with whom he co-founded Cleo Parker Robinson Dance in 1970) and began his distinguished 31-year teaching and coaching career with Regis Jesuit High School.
At Regis, Tom taught all levels of mathematics, including AP Calculus. He was assistant coach in football, basketball, and track (1969-83). the varsity basketball coach for 10 years (1983-93), and varsity golf coach (1993-95). Named as a Regis Teacher of the Year, Tom created the Regis Diversity program, served on the Board of Directors, and has a scholarship in his name that has received over $500,000.00 in funding. Many of Denver's most iconic members of the civic, corporate, and non-profit communities remember his firm but patiently guiding hand in the classroom and on the field, and the impact he had on shaping their futures. Years after leaving school, many of them still affectionally referred to him as "Coach".
Following his years at Regis, Tom became the Associate Commissioner for CHSAA (Colorado High School Activities Association). His primary responsibilities for the CHSAA office included overseeing the golf program and officials, but he was also pivotal in developing a sporting behavior program that has earned recognition from member schools based on the premise that fans should "Cheer for Your Team and Not Against Your Opponents."
This was an attitude that Tom conveyed in all aspects of his life, encouraging an aspiration to excellence over the quest for personal fame. The recipient of myriad accolades and awards, he remained quietly humble and focused on the support and advancement of others.
He was named the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame's Outstanding College Official, receiving the Award in 2008. He has also been awarded the John Adams Officiating Award, sponsored jointly by the CHSAA, Mountain West and Western Athletic Conferences. His most recent honor was the 2020 Lloyd Gaskill Award from the Colorado High School Coaches Association for his outstanding efforts in support of Colorado high school athletics.
From 1975-2000, he was a collegiate football official for the western Athletic and Mountain West conferences, and subsequently served as replay official in the CFO West, which serves both the Big 8 and Big 12, Mountain West and Southland conferences. He worked the Bluebonnet, Fiesta, Rose, Cotton, Gator, Independence, and Citrus Bowls. Prior to that he was a high school football official from 1969 to 1975. He was given the Outstanding Service Award from the MWC upon his retirement from on-field coaching.
He subsequently moved into a position as a collegiate instant replay official, which led to his being awarded the officiating duties for the 2017 NCAA title game between Clemson and Alabama.
He and his wife, Cleo Parker Robinson, shared 51 years of marriage, with Tom as a stalwart behind-the-scenes pillar of Cleo's own dream - the creation of what was to become an icon of dance in America - Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD). Tom was a co-founder, served on the Board of Directors, and was business manager for the organization for many years, addressing every aspect of a non-profit arts entity. He worked diligently to ensure a permanent home in the historic Shorter AME Building (at the corner of 20th and Washington in Denver’s Five Points community) for the company and a strong financial foundation. Every concert, every tour, his steadying hand and calm presence were always evident. For 51 years, artists, staff, technicians, and audiences always knew they'd see Tom in the theatre whenever his own extensive schedule allowed.
Cleo and Tom's son, Malik Robinson, Executive Director of CPRD, is nationally recognized as a leader in the arts, having served as Board Chair of Dance USA, a Bonfils Stanton Fellow, Board Member of the International Association of Blacks In Dance (IABD), husband of Olga Vianey Gonzalez, and father to Cleo and Tom’s grand-children, Ximalma, Xareni, and Nezahualcoyotl. Also an extraordinary athlete, Malik is a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School, where he studied mathematics and was coached by his father.
Messages of remembrance have been pouring in from all over the country - from the worlds of both athletics and the arts, all with one recurring theme - the kindness, patience, and strength of Tom Robinson, and the indelible impact he leaves behind.
Those wishing to express their support of the family are asked to send their condolences to Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West, Denver, Co. 80205 or to firstname.lastname@example.org
We ask that the family’s privacy been honored and that there be no phone calls at this time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.
Additional information regarding a memorial celebration will be provided as it becomes available.