Robert Paul Tetzlaff
November 13, 1935 - September 27, 2012
Resident of Los Gatos
Robert Tetzlaff, long-time resident of Los Gatos, CA, was a man of incredible depth and warmth. His three passions in life were his Olympic caliber Cycling career; his forty years of Teaching the children of Daves Avenue Elementary School; and his loving, yet small, family.
The 50's and 60's saw no champion more feared or respected in the arena of competitive cycling than Robert. The holder of numerous National Championships, and a member of two Olympic Teams in 1960 and 1968, as well as a silver medalist in the Pan American Games in 1963, Robert was a pioneer on a road that had not even been sniffed by future greats such as Greg LeMond, whom Robert helped guide in his younger years, along with countless others as a prolific coach, directing aspiring youth to World Championships and records aplenty.
Inspiring and directing youth apparently was in his DNA as Robert coupled a fluorishing cycling career as a competitor and coach, with his chosen profession of Teaching. Starting in a quaint town such as Los Gatos back in the 60's was something that would forever change the man and the loving town that embraced him. Generations-thousands of students all told-have metriculated under the caring gaze of Mr. T. Their children's children would come to love him the same way as their parents did, giving Mr. T. a reputation as one of the men who created the culture of knowledge in the thriving town of Los Gatos. Many people would interrupt his day of shopping or gettng gas with a "Hello Mr. T.!" and an embrace or handshake and a memory passed between them. He never forgot a one, nor did they forget him. Forever he will own a place in his student's hearts.
Lastly, Robert is survived by his soulmate, love of his life, Lorine, and their son, Scott Oliver. Scott was the child of Lorine's first marriage, but Robert took them both, and as he had always done, nurtured and guided, lovingly, the future of the child, and with it, the future of their family. His greatest accomplishments are in his enduring memories, not in trophies or even small write-ups on papers. The fact that his indelible imprint can still be felt warm and alive within generations of spirits, is a testament to his greatness as a man.
It is this man, that Thursday September 27th, saw for the last time. He will be missed greatly and loved forever. Please enjoy a last sprint down the homestretch with Robert at his Memorial Service to be held at Darling Fischer Chapel of the Hills, 615 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos on Friday 10/5/12 at 1:30pm.
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Published by San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Oct. 3, 2012.