Robert L Collyer, 91, passed peacefully at his home in Lee’s Summit MO on March 4, 2018 surrounded by three generations of family. He was born on December 13, 1926 in Pueblo, CO. Bob attended Centennial High. Like many other young men and women, he quit school to serve his country during WW2. Enlisting in the US Navy he served on the USS Sibley, an attack transport ship assigned to Amphibious Forces in the Pacific Theatre. Bob participated in several campaigns, including the invasion and victory at Iwo Jima. Returning to Pueblo, he married the love of his life, Phyllis Rotramel on July 20, 1946. Together they raised three children. Bob was a lifelong patriot and student of The Constitution. He loved teaching and challenging students to think for themselves at Centennial High School for 32 years prior to retirement in 1987. Many of his students became lifelong friends and communicated with him consistently over the decades. In 2011, Bob and Phyllis moved to Lee’s Summit, MO to be near family. Survivors include Mike (Bobbie Slack) Collyer, Diane (Tim) Bratz, Jerry Collyer, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Honoring his directive, there will be no service. Bob requested cremation with a copy of The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution, a 48 star American Flag, and his Centennial High School cap upon his chest.
The Bulldog Class of 1967 was sadly notified of Bob’s passing today. Bob was a true Bulldog, forever loyal & supportive to us all until just a few months ago. He continually kept in touch, even after moving to Missouri, with genuine concern for the well being of us all ! He was a very special & a favorite to all classmates, sending his love to the entire class on our recent 50th reunion ! Our prayers for all his family! He will be sorely missed & in our hearts always! Bob, Rest In Peace ! 67 Bulldogs! Pueblo, Co
Mr. Collyer will be missed by all those he touched during the course of his life. He respected, supported and challenged us. Mr. Collyer inspired me to become a teacher. Prayers for him and your family. Class of 1967
He was one of the most respected teachers at Centennial High School. He made all of us strive to be better students and kinder human beings to one another. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten.
Pueblo Centennial High School will be forever memorialized in his book, his labor of love about its history. For that, we owe a great debt of thanks. But even moreso, I owe my critical thinking to Mr. Collyer’s MAHU class (Man and His Universe), which was experimental in 1966-67. Yet, it was so successful and so much in demand that it carried on for another couple of decades and may still be around in some form today, for all I know. Both my younger sisters also had Mr. Collyer and he never failed to remember all 3 of us and our parents when any one of us had a reunion and he was there. What an amazing educator! What an amazing man! He will be very much missed. Every blessing to his family on this loss. May the good memories be a source of strength during these dark hours and beyond.
‘Mr. Centennial.” What a wonderful man and great teacher. My family and I were blessed to have him in our lives. My condolences to his family and friends. Ron Pike (student at Centennial High School, class of 1967)
Dad~ By your example, you continue to teach everyone who has had the privilege of knowing you. I did not sit in a classroom with you, but I have learned a great deal through our conversations, and by watching the example you set in your life. Your desire to explore ideas and opinions, and to respect opposing views, is something society could surely use these days. Your presence will be greatly missed. I love you, Dad.
My daddy, You were so many good things to so many people but I got to have you for my daddy. You were the best example of kindness and respect and love. You never failed in displaying the best in human beings because it was who you were. You were and are my guide in life and by your example, I try to ask myself what you would do in situations where I am unsure. I love you so much and miss you terribly. Love, Your baby girl
I feel so lucky to have grown up with Pompa as my grandfather. Bear-hugs and other expressions of love were freely given. He dispensed wisdom (of the homespun as well as the heavy variety) in abundance, without ever making the recipient feel less for having needed a dose of it. He was constantly learning new things, in a broad array of subjects. His fascination with languages and cultures, and willingness to be curious and open about them, was (and still is, in many respects) ahead of its time. I will be forever grateful that this cultural curiosity was passed down to me: it has given my life meaning, purpose, and direction. Pompa’s love of learning meant that he seemed to know *everything* — again, without ever making those around him feel small or diminished. On the contrary, he made everyone around him shine brighter, he lifted people up. I will always remember being small, going on family road trips with Pompa, and having him enlist my help to “Watch out for submarines!” on the road. I felt so important and undertook my job very seriously, at the same time wondering how on earth there could be submarines anywhere along the road in Colorado. But I took to my task like a search-and-rescue dog, eager to be of service, totally focused on the job at hand, because my Pompa had asked me to. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens, and driving myself, that it suddenly dawned on me that “submarines” was code for the police. These traits: his loving-kindness, his willingness to humbly share wisdom, his lifelong love of learning, and his ability to see (and draw out) the best in others, are the basic ingredients for being an exemplary human being. They are also without doubt the qualities that made him such a beloved teacher. I feel blessed to be following in his footsteps as a global educator. The work of teaching necessarily involves passing a small piece of oneself to each student, like the passing of a candle flame during a Christmas service. I think of the number of students whose lives he touched over the many years of his career, and of how I can continue to pass his light forward as well, and I am humbled and astonished by the knowledge that given this truth, he can never truly be gone. My beloved Pompa’s legacy is immeasurably meaningful. It is also eternal. “I am that most fortunate of men for I am eternal. Others live merely in the world of today; I live in the world of tomorrow. Others find purpose in the transient and the temporal; I find meaning in the enduring and the eternal. For I am charged with that most sacred mission – to transmit all that our forebears lived for, loved for, and died for to the next generation. I span the generations – making the wisdom of the past live now so that the future will have meaning. I make wisdom live, for I am no mere bearer of knowledge. I do not simply teach the mind; I reach the heart and – when I reach the heart; I touch the soul. To those who say two generations hence what will I be if not a distant memory, I respond: Though the mind fades, memories linger. Though the body fails, the spirit prevails. Though the scroll burns, the letters dance in the air.” (Rabbi Zev Schostak) Anchors aweigh, Pompa. I love you. –Your Varmint.
Mr. “Bob” Collyer, A teacher’s teacher. He taught students subjects but he also taught them how to live, think and contribute. He frequently came to our Class of 1967 reunions and was a friend, mentor and role model. He touched many lives and his education legacy will continue in the student lives he molded. He will be remembered and missed. James Kramer Class of 67
My heart is heavy for you Auntie Diane, Mike, Jerry and all the family! I feel extremely blessed to have known Bob! I looked forward to his stories especially because they came from a kind, thoughtful, selfless, and gentle heart! Keep his memory alive by telling his stories! We love you all and semd great big hugs! XO
I am one of your fathers former students (1971). Your dad was a forward thinking teacher who really did teach us how to think for ourselves. Over the years I have thought of him often and thanked him for the lessons he taught me. He was one of the main reasons why I became a teacher and an advocate for children who have disabilities. He taught me to stand up for my principles and let look for solutions outside the box. He also taught me that time was a man made constraint and you and you alone were the director of your life morals. Thank you for sharing your dad with so many bulldogs. He was one of the reasons that Centennial was such a great experience
Growing up here in Pueblo, CO, Bob and Phyllis Collyer were great family friends. Although I wasn’t a student of Bob’s, I learned at lot about American History, the Constitution and life from him. My sincerest condolences to the family. RIP Bob and thank you.
I would like to extend my sympathies to the Collyer family. Way back in the seventies, I did my student teaching at Centennial High School here in Pueblo. I had majored in History, and was always looking for help and encouragement. The teacher that had been assigned to me as sort of my mentor, and I had difficulty getting along, as I felt he disliked, and belittled me. I often found myself going to see Mr. Collyer to ask him how he presented materials, his lecture style, and how to navigate the problems I was having. He was always so kind, so helpful, he listened to me and always gave me the best tips and advice, not only for my classroom, but dealing with this difficult teacher. Years later, I sometimes spoke with him over the phone just to say hello. I changed careers, eventually, and I very much regret not having had coffee a few times. What a fine man.I will always have the deepest regards and respect for him.
My condolences to the family. Class of 63. He was a great teacher and enjoyed his classes immensly.
Mr. Collier was a great influence to many of us that attended Centennial High School. May we all cherish the fond memories, role model, leader and friend he was to all of the Bulldog community. Fly with the angels Mr. Collier and thank you. Hugs and prayers to your family.
So sad to hear. It was a pleasure to work in a great teaching environmment that Bob helped create over the years. Very much respected and liked. RIP my good friend. Coach Tom Brockman
So sorry for your loss. I remember him as a wonderful man. My prayers to all of the family.
We were so sad to hear that Mr. Collyer passed. He and Phyllis were good neighbors to my parents (Nick & Lucy Caffaro) and our family. They were there for them if help was needed or came over just to say hi and have a cup of coffee. I do remember one Halloween that a RIP sign was put in their yard in place of a tree that my dad had taken out…I wonder who could of put that there he told me…? Bob was a gentle soul and I know he will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Know that we feel your sadness and will keep you all in our prayers. Joyce and Joe DeGrado
Our deepest sympathy for your loss of this great man. He lives on in the generations of students he taught so well. He said : Think ouside the box. Back your ideas up with proven facts. Be able to defend your ideas. If you can’t write and speak your ideas with clarity they are meaningless. Know the US Constitution. Understand civics. Respect what your forefathers and the men and women in the military have done for you. Learn Centennial’s history. Learn it. Pass it on. There is no end to the monumental impact Mr. Collyer had on our school, town, and society. His encouragement helped me earn a 4 year college scholarship. He was an encourager and great teacher. He changed my life. I have practiced law for over 40 years in Pueblo, CO and think of him often. I am blessed to have met wth him face to face and told him how much his teaching has helped me all these years. Bob West, Class of 1963
Peace and Healing to all of you! With their last breath those we have greatly loved do not say good bye — for love is timeless. Instead, they leave us with a solemn promise — when they are finally at rest in God, their Creator and Maker, they will continue to be present to us whenever they are called upon. So, let us not grieve — beyond letting go — for in the Tree of Life their roots and ours are forever intertwined. The deeper our love for someone the harder it is to let go. Be assured that he is in the arms of a most merciful and loving Maker. He has walked through that valley and no need for him to fear, the Good Shepherd walks with him and even talks with him as he crosses-over to be with Phyllis. May he have eternal rest until we see him again. I knew Rob and Phyllis when I was the president of the condo in Pueblo, CO. I actually live right across the street from them and many times I called upon Bob for help — you know, those small jobs. We both had education in mind when we talked because I was a HS and College teacher before I became a priest. I know he was a man who challenged people and always enjoyed his honesty — even direct at times with Phyllis adding her comments. I tried to persuade them to get on the Condo Board.. .but I think they wanted their time to do other things since they were retired. Please accept my compassion for your loss but what a legacy he leaves for all of us and may the Lord bless him and keep him close to his heart. My prayers, Fr. Frank
To all of the Collyer family. I just want to let you know that I am thinking of you during this difficult time. Bob was a wonderful neighbor of my mom Edna Davenport when he lived in Pueblo, CO. Did a lot of things to help her and also some Centennial info that she wanted for genealogy. Please remember all the good times to help you. Sincerely, Arlene
Finally I can write something, been struggling with this for days. I don’t have to believe a major rock in my life has is gone if I don’t want to. For 65 years I was honored to have my Dad in my life. Such a blessing. Dad was ALWAYS there for his 3 kids in every way. Thank You Daddy for all you always gave. Broken hearts heal but not for a long time. I have millions of memories, have nothing but gratitude and Love for a Great Dad. You were a Bulldog through and through and so loved by your students. Memories of going to the old (when little) and the new Centennial buildings were always fun. Especially that old building. The History I learned from you Dad, via Osmosis, verbal and written was Gold Standard. I can never be able to thank you enough Dad. Maybe in Heaven. Love from Jerry.
In 1975 I was transferred from Middle School to Centennial High to teach Social Studies. I was 23 years old, in a Dept of 10 other male teachers. Bob Collyer was department head and is the reason I made it through those first few years. I learned so much from him and several years later, went to Roncalli Middle School, where I served as department head for over 20 years. I have never forgotten his encouragement and support at a time when I really needed it. I will always remember his kindness, and feel very fortunate to have known him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
I’m so sorry for your loss. May your families find peace.
We were blessed to know Bob from our early days of school—elementary and middle school. When I became principal at Centennial, Bob was the social studies chairperson, and we were together for five years. He was a superior teacher, always placed the students in his care above everything else, and was highly respected by students and teachers. In our retirement years, Bob and Phyllis, the two of us, and other friends traveled together to many places in Europe and Russia. They were a fun couple and we always enjoyed being in their company. Bob has joined Phyllis in heaven. May they rest in peace. With sympathy: Bill and Leona Hrutky
I just don’t have words. . . (sob!) that can express the immense impact my “papa” has had on my life. He was there for me as a teacher, as a friend and as a father from the time I was a homeless refugee attending Centennial HS (50+ yrs ago). I was never going to disappoint Mr. Collyer, because he believed in me. He became my dear “papa” and he was always there to celebrate my successes. My love for this great man is boundless, not only for what he did for me, but for who he was. I, and countless others, owe him so much! Papa, you will always live in my heart!!
To the family, Mike, Bobbie, Diane, Tim, Jerry and all the kids, my heart goes out to all of you. I look forward to spending time with you sharing stories about your dad and keeping his memory alive. Always remember that your dad loved you with all his heart!
To the family of Bob Collyer: I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Collyer was my supervising teacher at Centennial in 1982. I became a teacher and spent 20 years in education before I had health issues. I absolutely adored him even though he could be tough. He allowed me to try new things and taught me many ideas and trusted ways! He was amazing. Please know how much he meant to me! Sherrie Grenda.
May his memory be for a blessing.