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Robert M. Hazlett

1928 - 2019
Robert M. Hazlett Obituary
Robert M. Hazlett

Fort Collins - Dr. Robert M. Hazlett of Fort Collins, Colorado passed away at his home on September 11 after a lengthy illness. He was 91. Robert, or "Coach" as he was known to thousands of NMSU students and public-school students in New Mexico and West Texas, moved to Fort Collins with his wife Kathryn in 1993 after his retirement from 28 years of service as an educator at NMSU.

Robert was born August 11, 1928 in Wheeling West Virginia, where he excelled in many sports, became an acrobat, and worked for the Wheeling Steel Company.

A chance meeting with Mr. George Nissen, founder of the Nissen Trampoline Company at an Indiana county fair led to his attending the University of Iowa as a student-athlete, where he won the first U of I NCAA Men's Gymnastics National Championship gold medal in the trampoline event, and 2 Big Ten Conference gold medals in the tumbling event.

Bob earned a Bachelor and master's degree in Physical Education while at Iowa and was commissioned in the Army as an Infantry Second Lieutenant. He met his future wife, Kathryn Sedlacek, at the Iowa Student Union bowling alley.

Bob and Kathy were married September 8, 1956.

Bob and Kathy left Iowa for Socorro, New Mexico and NMIMT, where Bob served as intramural and Swimming Pool Director from 1957-1959 and served as the first New Mexico representative to the President's Council on Youth Fitness (President Eisenhower's administration) in 1957. Bob and Kathy moved to Elmhurst, Illinois, where Bob taught physical education and health, and coached JV football, and coached York Community High School's boy's gymnastics team to 2nd, 1st, and 3rd finishes respectively in the Illinois State Championship in 1959-1962.

In 1962, Las Cruces and NMSU gave Bob the opportunity to educate physical educators. Bob coached men's and women's gymnastics teams, taught physical education, physiology, and human anatomy, served as a noted student advisor, advised the NMSU cheerleading squad, served as an advisor for Phi Epsilon Kappa, and taught children's gymnastics classes for 17 years. For years he and his gymnasts and Circus Club members performed in assemblies in regional public schools.

Bob served as State President of the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and received one of the first PEPE Awards. He earned his doctorate degree at North Texas State University.

Bob enjoyed being in the Sunrise Lions Club (charter member) and serving as a Trustee and Ruling Elder of the First United Presbyterian Church. He was active in Camp Fire and Boy Scouts, and church youth activities. He loved fishing in his boat and growing award-winning roses and vegetables (Southern NM State Fair).

In 2003 Bob was inducted into the Iowa Lettermen's Club Hall of Fame for athletic achievement.

He and Kathy celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on September 8 in Fort Collins, Colorado, 3 days before his death.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Maurice and Elgie Hazlett; his brother, Charles "Jack" Hazlett, and his sister, Ruth Ann Carnahan. He is survived by wife, Kathryn and son, Mark of Fort Collins CO; daughter, Kim Beierl (John); granddaughter, Bethany Folse (Dan); grandson, Brian Beierl, all of New Orleans, LA; daughter, Karen Martinez (Alex) of Wellington, CO; granddaughters, Alex Marie Rios (Pedro) of Fort Collins; granddaughter, Marisol Martinez of Wellington, and 5 great grandchildren.

A memorial service for Bob was held on October 14. The family request that memorials be made to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, Iowa City, Iowa, or do a kindness in Bob's memory for a child or veteran in need.

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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News from Oct. 18 to Oct. 27, 2019
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