September 5, 1923 – July 6, 2020
Robert Franklin Metzler, born September 5, 1923, passed away at his home in Idaho Springs, Colorado, July 6, 2020, at the age of 96. Bob graduated from Douglas County High School and received his BA and MA degrees from Denver University. He was recognized for his innovative contributions to education by Columbia University with an honorary doctorate. Bob was a cattle rancher, educator, artist, adventurer, developer, and philanthropist.
He began his career in education in 1944 as a teacher in a one-room school. He served as a principal and, in 1952, was elected County Superintendent of Douglas County Schools. Bob contemplated national opportunities, but in 1964 eager to advance his avant-garde ideas concerning individualized learning, he accepted the position as Superintendent of Schools for Clear Creek County, CO, where he campaigned to innovate and improve education. His success attracted the attention of the Ford Foundation and, with a team from Columbia University, presented his ideas at the 1964 World’s Fair. Bob also secured financial help from the Ford Foundation to provide educators with innovated classroom techniques. Following his work in Clear Creek, Bob joined the administration of Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, where he developed new concepts for life long learning. He later continued his career internationally.
Bob was a third generation Coloradan who had a deep love for the land and its people. His grandparents were among the original homesteaders in the Castlewood Canyon area near Franktown. Their homestead is now part of Castlewood Canyon State Park. Bob and his sister Rosemary developed a passion for reading and teaching from their mother Mary, who was one of the few women of her time to attain a high school education. Together Bob and Rosemary endowed a scholarship fund at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education to ensure generations of future students have the financial means to pursue careers in education. They also contributed to Rocky Mountain Public Media – PBS, establishing the Metzler Family Learning Center.
Bob’s friends remember him as a true gentleman and a renaissance man, accomplished painter, a gifted pianist, fisherman, cross country skier and a gourmet cook. He was caring and deeply generous. His passion for learning had a profound effect on the lives of all those he touched. Until his passing Bob, “Knight of the Castle,” resided in his historic home known locally as “Castle Eyrie.”
A private graveside service will be held at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Castle Rock. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education or Rocky Mountain Public Media – PBS in memory of Bob.
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