James F. Robertson

Birth Date: 
Friday, July 17, 1942
Date of Passing: 
Saturday, January 23, 2021

WOOSTER – James F. Robertson, 78, of Wooster passed away on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at Wooster Community Hospital.

He was born July 17, 1942 in Manhattan, Kansas the son of James E. and Marguerite Huggins Robertson.  He married Joan Kleiber on August 14, 1965.  She survives.

Life with James Robertson was always full of surprises, whether it was showing up unexpectedly, presenting someone with a gift, arranging a surprise party, or even taking someone on an unexpected vacation. 

He made friends easily and touched hundreds of lives through his career in education. He cared deeply for others and left behind a community of people whose lives might have been very different without his influence.

Although born in Kansas, Jim grew up in and around Wooster, married a Wooster College graduate, Joan Kleiber, and after his active full-time military service, returned to Wooster where he served the community as a teacher, principal, and school psychologist.  He was a strong supporter of the Wooster Free Clinic, founded by his step-mother Viola Startzman Robertson, and recently he was one of the five founders of the Boys and Girls Club of Wooster.  Never wanting to be idle, at age 78 he was still working part-time as a school psychologist for the Hillsdale Schools. 

His expectations were high – for others and himself.  During his life’s pursuits, whether they were running track at Wooster High School, flying a plane, disciplining school children, navigating a car on the left side of a New Zealand Road, teaching 6th grade, or performing his duties as a school psychologist, he approached life with zest and caring.  His love of life was no more apparent than when he instilled awe, laughter, and a healthy dose of fear in the children who were listening to his fireside ghost stories.

He was also a risk-taker who was never afraid to try something new, from travelling the world to flying fighter jets for the Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard.  When the movie Top Gun was released, he said “Tom Cruise wishes he were me”. These are the moments that you knew Jim had a need for adventure but also the fighter pilot’s ego to go with it.  Fortunately, his family helped him mostly stay grounded – with the exception of when, in semi-retirement, he decided to build an airplane in his garage. That led to the end of his flying days in an emergency landing just shy of the runway.

He left behind his wife of 55 years, Joan Kleiber Robertson, and two very cherished daughters, Christine Robertson (Fredericksburg, VA) and Amy Robertson (Bothell, WA).  Other relatives include a son-in-law Paul Doak and a grandson, Benet Robertson-Doak (both of Bothell, WA); two brothers, David Robertson (Naples, FL) and Martin Scott Robertson (Columbus, OH); and five cherished nieces and nephews.   Preceding him in death was his twin brother, Dean Robertson.

He left this world without warning but he left it a better place, just a little bit at a time.  May he rest in peace after a life well lived and concluded too soon. So we say goodbye to this man using his own words from a card he once signed as “The one, the only, your friend and mine, the greatest, James Robertson”

There will be no calling hours.  Private family services will be livestreamed on the McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home facebook page on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 1:00 p[.m.  Inurnment of cremains will follow at Sherwood Memorial Gardens.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com.



There will be no calling hours


Private family services will be livestreamed on the McIntire, Bradham & Sleek facebook page on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.  


Jim truly was the greatest. He will be dearly missed. Thoughts and prayers for Jim and the family.

-Kelly and Milena Kranstuber

Having known Jim since I moved to Akron in 1964, I can truly say that he was a most special person. He was always positive, creative, and the best friend anyone could have. No matter how long we may have gone without seeing each other, he would surprise me showing up at just the right moment. Full of surprises, back in the 60's, I was critical of his driving and never suspected that he would go on to become an ace pilot in the Air Force. Joan was the love of his life and they made a wonderful couple.

My prayers go out to her and the family.

John Grafton

Jim was a beloved member of our staff at Hillsdale. We will miss his energy and wisdom.
Prayers for his family and friends.
-Students and Staff at Hillsdale

To the Robertson family, I am sad to learn about Jim passing away. He was a great person. I worked with him and I golfed with him. I had a lot of good laughs with him and always enjoyed our conversations. He was a great guy. I always got excited whenever I saw him. I always looked forward to talking to him. I wish you the best in this tough and emotional time.

Jim changed the lives of countless kids in Wooster through his involvement with Boys & Girls Club - we are forever indebted to his service. We'll miss him popping in the Club to say hello or fix the Foosball tables! We'll miss his guidance and passion.
-Boys & Girls Club Staff

Boy is he going to be missed!. I worked with Jim and Dan Adams for many years in the school districts we served. It was always a fun time with both of them …I can see them right now together debating which psych tests are the best and having a tasty brew with their fishing poles dipped in the water. I am so sorry for his loss. . He will be missed.

Im so sorry Joan and family. He is certainly going to be missed. If you need me for anything, please don't hesitate to call me Joan!

DeDe Gerber

Savannah Lakes Village has lost a good citizen and friend. Jim was a fun golfing friend and we all enjoyed some of the conversations he had with himself when he would hit a bad shot. We will miss him and and extend our thoughts and prayers to the family during this difficult time. Thank you Joan for bringing him into our lives.

So very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. What an amazing life and wonderful legacy he leaves for all. May he Rest In Peace.

Jim was a very special and dedicated teacher. He worked very closely with me to help my son with his schooling and homework. Much to my sons chagrin, Jim followed him from Grant street to the junior high where he continued to follow and help my son. He was a very special person and will be missed by many of us.

Jim and I have spent many hours golfing, bowling, flying, eating out, and working on his Velocity airplane. I will miss him.

So sorry to hear about Jim's passing, I knew about him from our time at Wooster High School. After reading his obituary, I'm amazed at all he has done with his life, it was very interesting! His wife and daughters have my deepest sympathy! Rest in peace, Jim! Myrtle Reynolds

On behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Wooster Board, we want to express our condolences to the Robertson family. Jim will always be on our mind and we will miss him.

Jim was a wonderful person and educator. His dedication to help students and staff reached far beyond the classroom. I will forever be a better person because of Jim.

All my prayers,
Rich Roth

I have known Jim since early in my professional career when I worked in the schools. He was always a source of good guidance and also a good laugh. He was one of those people that I always enjoyed talking to and seeing around town. So sorry to hear this new Joan and family.

Jim and I ran track in H.S. and became friends. We stayed in touch over the years.. Hard to believe. R.I.P.

Jim was a treasured and dedicated employee at Tri-County Educational Service Center. His smiling face lit up any room he entered. He will be greatly missed! So very sorry for your loss Joan and family.

Jim was a treasured and dedicated employee of Tri-County Educational Service Center. His smile lit up every room he entered. He will be greatly missed! So sorry for your loss Joan and family.

I am reading this news over in England where I now live. I played golf with Jim & found him a great companion. My sympathy with Joan & family.

Jim and I were college classmates, and shared lots of experiences, from campus jobs to Air Force ROTC, while at the University of Akron. We were from vastly different backgrounds but formed a deep and lasting friendship! We both served in the Air Force, but lost contact with each other until recently--Jim, Joan, my wife and I shared a delightful European Vacation and River Cruise in 2019 and he was the same friendly, hospitable and full of surprises guy I knew in college in the 60's! I will miss him dearly! Rest in peace my friend!!!

We live in Jim’s childhood home and I enjoyed chatting with him about his younger days in the neighborhood. Many fun stories. Shocked that he’s gone, way too soon. RIP.

Such a sad and shocking loss. My condolences Joan, and family.
You are in our hearts.

Always glad to see Jim walk into the office and hear his “daring” stories. We could always count on him to fill in whenever needed. He will be missed so much by everyone who knew him. Rest In Peace Jim.

Po and I enjoyed our trips to Statford with Jim and Joan as well as our visits to Savannahj Lakes. Good times. When they visited us in AZ he found the plane he had flown in the Air Force. It was in the "boneyard" at the Pima Air Museum. Golfing, bowling we had some great times. Getting lost in the backwoods of Virginia on the way home from Hilton Head because Jim wanted to take "the road less traveled" was an adventure..
Joan and family we do not have words to express how we feel. God Bless and R.I.P Jim.

Jim is a great friend and confidant. We have many memories teaching together and reflecting on life over breakfast. Jim’s positive impact on others will be lasting and dearly missed. Jim will always be included in future breakfast prayers and include a heavy dose of either blueberries or maple syrup for the pancakes. God bless Joan and the Robertson family!

Jim served his fellow man with vigor. He will always be one of my top tier mentors. Jim, your leadership will live on in the lives of so many. May God be with Joan and the girls.

Our paths crossed while serving together at the 180th Fighter Wing, Swanton, OH. Jim was one of a kind! Amazing pilot and friend to everyone. Thoughts and many prayers to his family and friends.

I met Jim when he taught night courses at Wayne College, and his energy and skill in the classroom helped multitudes survive their brush with college mathematics. We remained friends for years and would meet to discuss politics, the Tribe, flying, motorcycles, golf, and always, teaching and his family. At 78, he was still intent on finding the best methods for helping students learn. His wit, energy, and expertise made every conversation a joy, and his golf game left many a young man questioning how this rascal got the best of them. Jim's commitment to the community was just as focused, and Wooster will miss his insights and empathy. I was blessed to know Jim--he improved my life and the lives of so many others, particularly those he helped in the classroom. All my best to Joanie and the family.

Prayers and Hugs to the entire family until you meet again. I was also a member of the 180th FW and remember Jim's ability to get it done with a smile. Heaven got another super angel.

Oh my. So sudden, such a devastating loss, and without warning. Amy & I STILL can't believe it. Our kids, who had you as their principal, can't believe you're gone. They still tell such stories and share such fond memories. They respected you so much. Lots & lots of prayers for Joanie. We'll all miss you, captain Jim. And ours was largely a "golf relationship" but, through that, it was a rich one. I appreciated your friendship so much and will miss you so. Two-time champs, we were, and an eyelash from a third. No more strategizing, no more talking each other off the cliff, no more post-win beverages. No more plotting the next conquest. I'll miss you. We all will. Rest in peace, my friend, my WCC "Old Pal."

Thank you for your service. Condolences to the family. Wooster-Wayne Chapter DAR

What a wonderful tribute for a great guy. So full of life and a great inspiration to children. May he rest in peace.

So sorry to hear the news about Jim. He was one of my “pocket change” golf buddies that helped me make so many new friends in retirement. Whether it was playing with him as his partner or his competitor, it was always fun playing with Jim. He will be deeply missed. All my condolences to the Robertson family.

Jim had many accomplishments, but none greater than his contribution to the team of former educators who created the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club. Thanks for impacting young lives well into the future.

We were so sorry to hear about Jim’s sudden passing.Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

To Jim's Family,
Jim and I used to discuss politics between classes at Wayne College. We also researched the viability of various pension programs and other economic issues. He was insightful. His presence will be greatly missed.

So sorry for your loss of this adventurous aviator and accomplished educator who Headed West much too soon.

Win Reither

Add new condolence

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.