May 9, 1931 - May 28, 2014
John “Jack” Robson, a longtime educator and retired Navy officer, formerly of West Seneca and Eldred, Pa., died May 28 at Heritage Village Rehab and Skilled Nursing Facility, Gerry, after a short illness. He was 83.
Born in Olean, Mr. Robson contracted spinal meningitis at age 9, which limited his activity through his senior year of high school at Otto-Eldred in Duke Center, Pa.
After high school graduation in 1949, he attended Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, earning a bachelor’s degree in English and history. He played soccer, participated in school government and joined the Navy during his senior year of college.
Getting a deferred enrollment to go to flight training, he was activated in June 1953. In October 1954, he was commissioned as a pilot of fixed-wing and lighter-than-air craft in the Navy.
Upon completing his active military service, he attended the University of Buffalo from 1957 to 1958, earning a master’s degree in education. He began his career in education, teaching English at Amherst Junior High School from 1958 to 1961 and was a graduate assistant from 1961 to 1962.
He next received a Ford Foundation administrative internship at Kenmore West High School and traveled to various schools in the district.
From 1964 to 1967, he was principal at West Seneca East Junior High School.
In 1967, he was appointed acting assistant superintendant.
He served as director of secondary curriculum for West Seneca Central Schools from 1968 to 1983.
Mr. Robson returned to the University at Buffalo, receiving a doctor of education degree in 1971 and at the same time began his 16-year term as a trustee of Roberts Wesleyan College.
In 1983, he was named assistant superintendant at West Seneca, a position he held until retirement in 1991.
He served in the Navy Reserve as a blimp pilot, intelligence officer, security clearance investigator and recruiter for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., retiring in 1991 as a captain.
Mr. Robson worked as director of the P.A.C.E. Program of Houghton College at Olean and West Seneca, an adult degree-completion program.
He was a founding member of West Seneca Wesleyan Church and a member of the Retired Military Officers Association of America.
After retirement, he spent summers at the family farm in Eldred and winters in Lakeland, Fla., before moving to Heritage Village in 2009.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Esther Hutt; three sons, David, Mark and Robert; two daughters, Marcia Cromer and Bethany; a brother, Earl; a sister, Jean Darling; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service with military honors will be June 21 at a time to be announced in First Church of God, Eldred.