Robert Lee Hartman(1928 - 2012)

Robert Lee


Asheville - Robert Lee Hartman, 84, of Asheville, NC passed away November 3, 2012 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was surrounded by his family.

He was born July 14, 1928 in South Bend, Indiana to the late Robert Matthew Hartman and Ellen Davis Hartman.

He graduated from Riley High School in South Bend, Indiana in 1946 where he played baseball and was the captain of both the football and basketball teams. In 1945, after defeating legendary Coach John Wooden's Central High School in sectionals, Bob played in the Indiana High School State Championship. The players stated that they made it to finals that year because there was no star. They played as a team. This was the beginning of Bob's coaching style. He stressed the importance of teamwork to all of his players, not only in sports, but also in life.

After high school, he was invited to join the Chicago Cubs farm team, which he declined, to accept a football scholarship to Purdue University. As much as he loved his Cubs, he felt a college education was more important and was proud to be the first in his family to be given an opportunity to attend.

At Purdue University, he lettered in three sports, quarterbacked, pitched and was a guard on the basketball team. He also competed in track and field. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and graduated with a degree in Physical Education.

Bob joined the United States Army. He was a Lieutenant in the Korean War and Recreation Director for the troops while stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. While stationed at Fort Jackson, SC, he met Carroll Lamar Simms. They were married on September 19, 1953.

After the war ended, he played his final basketball season for Florida State University with several of his former Purdue teammates. They advanced to the NAIB (NAIA) tournament in Kansas City. That season, Bob set a new Seminole scoring record and also set a new college record for the state of Florida.

Bob and Carroll later moved to Jacksonville, Florida where Bob taught and coached at Terry Parker High School. It was there that they met their lifelong friends, Bill Highsmith and Bob Daughton. During the off season, Bob attended American University in Washington, DC where he earned his masters degree in Physical Education.

Coach Hartman and family moved to Asheville, NC, when the newly appointed Chancellor Highsmith asked him to help build an athletic department at Asheville Biltmore College. And that he did. He served as Athletic Director from 1962-1981, coached the basketball team from 1962-1979 and taught from 1962 until his retirement in 1990. He started and coached golf, tennis and cross country teams and began women's athletic programs. He was instrumental in the building of the Justice Center to house his athletic program and the building of dorms, as the basketball teams at the time lived in Hartman's house. He opened the Justice Center doors to community sports and local high schools. He believed community involvement in athletics was essential to his program. He ran the Bob Hartman Basketball Camps from which children learned to enjoy the sport as much as he did and to understand the importance of teamwork. Within nine years, his teams competed twice in the NAIA tournaments in Kansas City and defeated powerhouse Grambling University. By this time, Asheville Biltmore had grown to become UNCA and they have never looked back. In 1978, he was chosen by the US State Department to coach the US team at the CSIT (World Sports Games) in Israel. He was inducted into the UNCA Hall of Fame in 2003.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years , Carroll Lamar Simms, 4 daughters and 8 grandchildren. His daughter and son-in-law, Tina and Richard MacManus of Essex, CT and grandchildren Megan, Connie and Jane; daughter and son-in-law Karen and Ed Herron of Hickory, NC and grandchildren Amy, Brett and Callie; daughter Connie Gawrych of Mt. Pleasant, SC and grandchildren Jennifer and Steven; daughter Katherine Hartman Stevens of Asheville, NC.

He is survived by his brother, Jerry Hartman, of Zepher Hills, Florida.

Mr. Hartman is preceded in death by his brother, William and sister, Lois Everly, both of South Bend, Indiana.

We would like to extend a special thanks to Dr Peggy Noel of Memory Care and to all the wonderful caregivers at Claire Bridge, Brooks Howell and Care Partners Hospice.

A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Saturday, November 10th at St Mary's Episcopal Church, 337 Charlotte Street.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Bob Hartman Scholarship Fund, c/o Athletic Department One University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804.

Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Avenue is assisting the family. Condolences may be sent to the family through



Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Nov. 7, 2012