Robert Franklin Metzler
September 5, 1923 – July 6, 2020
Robert Metzler Visionary Educator
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.
Private graveside services will be held
Robert Franklin Metzler
July 16, 2020
Bob Metzler was a visionary educator and a school administrator who inspired both educational professionals and students. Bob was the most brilliant, creative, and innovative educator I ever met. As a superintendent, he had a clear vision for personalized learning and technology. He literally designed the new Clear Creek Secondary School to fit that vision. It was an incredibly innovative school with many awards and recognition for architecture and education.
I was fortunate to be hired by Bob for my first teaching position at the new Clear Creek Secondary School. Bob’s vision of education served as the foundation for my educational philosophy throughout my entire career. By the time I finished my career in teacher education, I still had not seen an institution as innovative as Clear Creek.
Bob’s creativity extended beyond education to other realms. He purchased and creatively renovated the Castle Eyrie in Idaho Springs in the 1960’s. The 1880’s, 28-room, turreted castle was built by the governor of B.C. I lived in the single apartment that he had designed for Fulbright teachers.
Bob Metzler was a creative and generous man who could have been a concert pianist, a watercolor artist, or gourmet chef. He was a true Renaissance man and an exceptionally gracious entertainer. A descendent of early Colorado settlers in the Castle Rock area, he had a love of Colorado history and was a fascinating storyteller.
I dearly loved Bob Metzler and owe my teaching career and educational philosophy to him. I know he touched the lives of so many people and I have remained in contact with him for a half-century. Bob’s creativity and genuine kindness were truly unique. Those of us who knew Bob at Clear Creek will keep him in our memory forever. He died in his beloved castle, a fitting conclusion to a fascinating life so well-lived.