Robert Ector.

January 20, 2008

A dear friend, Robert Ector, passed away last night.

Robert sang on our church’s praise team. He had a weak heart for years, but you’d never have known it seeing him on stage. He was the guy who donned the funny glasses as he sang in church programs. He was the guy who, with a straight face, sang about Frosty the Snowman melting away. He was the guy with the hearty laugh, the one who always laughed at his own jokes. Every time I visited home during college, he would ask me, “How’s it going?” & sit down to hear my response. He always jokingly told me that I was the one who recruited him into the praise team when I was in high school (I don’t remember). We loved him.

It hurts. But as our pastor reminded us, we don’t grieve as those without hope. His wife & his son are especially grieving, but not as those without hope.

“But we do not want to you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died & rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself with descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, & with the sound of the trumpet of God. & the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, & so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

He is exactly where we want most to be . . . only, he arrived there first.

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
‘Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
‘Cause we believe with hope
(There’s a place by God’s grace)
There’s a place where we’ll see your face again
We’ll see your face again

(Steven Curtis Chapman)

We miss him. But we’ll see his face again.


33 Responses to “Robert Ector.”

  1. I too knew Robert as I taught with him at Taylor Elementary school. He brought joy to everyone’s lives and he will be missed. It was nice to read about your memories with him.

  2. Peggy Cai Says:

    Thanks for the post. I had heard Robert had passed. My son (now a 7th grader) was very sad to hear the news. We now live in another state and will always have great memories of him. His big booming laugh, his jokes, and most of all, his rare ability to connect with his students in a way no other teacher could. He was a rare breed and will be missed. It was always amazing to meet people from around San Jose who knew of him and always had positive things to say about him.

    Rest in peace, Ector. I know you’re up there making wise cracks about us.

    Peggy & Nicholas

  3. Gail Says:

    I taught with Robert for almost 30 years. We are all in shock here at school. We remember how, when Robert laughed real hard, he would squint his eyes and slap his knee a few times. He loved to tease people on the staff, and when he would be teased back, he’d say, “That’s beautiful, just beautiful!” He would talk to custodians, the kitchen ladies, the teachers, the parents, the students and the D.O. Staff and make them feel as if he was their best friend and they were his. And be sincere about it. That is a gift. We remember him making a point to walk through the kindergarten classes…..just to meet the new incoming….he made a point to know them all, all the way through the grades. He was so loved by his students. They are his legacy. One student commented that when she woke up in the morning she would smile because Mr. Ector was her teacher and how she loved coming to school for the first time in her life!
    He serenaded us up and down the halls, BBQ’d for us, called us up in our classrooms and made us smile, he joked, he was serious, he cared about us and was always a loyal friend. We feel very privileged to have had the joy of knowing Robert. We loved him and will miss his so, so very much. Our love and prayers go to Pat and Michael, their family and friends.

  4. tia Says:

    I’m really loving these comments :]

  5. Bill Schwarz Says:

    Mr. Ector was my third grade teacher in 1978. He was a very influential part of my growing up. He was took an interest in me a child and kept track of my growing up all throughout my childhood years…even during my high school years and beyond. I was fortunate enough to run into him from time to time over the years, and he would always be interested in what was going on in my life at that particular time. I looked up to him so much, that even as an adult, I could not bring myself to call him “Robert”. He was always “Mr. Ector” to me…the man who made me feel important at very critical part of my childhood. I was deeply saddend to hear of his passing. He was not only a great educator; but he was an inspirational friend to all who knew him.

  6. Tina Eachus Says:

    I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Ector for almost 10 years. He was a blessing to every child he ever met. He will forever be part of my 9th grade daughter’s fondest memories of her “younger years”. I remember my 3rd grade daughter telling me she met Mr. Ector when he came by her kindergarten class just to see who was coming up in the ranks. She was always delighted to see him in the halls, on the playground or when he stopped by her classroom this year. He was an absolute joy – even when he did not feel his best, you still felt important in his presence. One of my most recent and personal memories was singing “Monster Mash” with him in October. I am deeply saddened by his passing. He was one of my favorites.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, son, and family he left behind.
    We will see him again…..

  7. Ken Caplan Says:

    I was at Roberts Funeral today and i have to say… He must have done something right! Standing room only…. He was a great man and fun to be around.
    My son who was a Taylor student 8 years ago said ” he was the best teacher i never had”
    Robert will be missed by my family but has lefty us with fond memories.

    • Justin Kirksey Says:

      What was your sons name?
      My name is Justin Kirksey.
      I was in his classroom aswell during that time.
      Then I went to mr.Harris’s class while others went to ms.mellmans class.
      My e-mail address is

  8. Carolyn P Says:

    Robert would have loved his memorial service today! From the masses that showed up to express their love and respect for this wonderful man, to the video of him on the cruise ship belting out “How sweet it is to be loved by you” – he would have eaten it ALL up! It is sad that we don’t regularly take the time to tell people in our lives just how special they are and what a difference they make by just be being in our lives. Robert’s killer smile lit up the room and he loved life – it was evident by how much he tried to get out of it by investing so much of his life in others.

    His rich legacy will live on most poignantly through his family and those who knew him directly, but it is evident that he affected the lives of so many, that there will be people throughout the generations to come, that I’m sure we will never know – but Robert touched them through the students and colleagues that he influenced.

    I will miss him confusing my girl’s names, but always being interested in them- I’ll miss him being a “Snow Man” – I’ll miss him ‘taking credit’ for the weather on the Sundays when made announcements and emceeing so many of our church events – I’ll miss him, period. BUT I do know that he’s no longer “trusting” in all the promises of the Bible that were so dear to him – he is LIVING in the reality of each of them! We remain in the world where must still trust, but in that trusting – we have the confidence that our separation from Robert is only temporary…and by the time we see him, he’ll be there at the gates to greet us with that big smile as though there has been no time apart, and say ” hey, have I got something to show you!! Isn’t this beautiful? “

  9. Gerald Grudzen Says:

    Robert taught both of our daughters, Corita and Simone, in their formative years at Taylor School. He was not only a dedicated and n inspirational teachers but became a personal friend of our family over the past 25 years.
    He had such an upbeat attitude about life that made you feel better whenever you met him despite his personal health problems.
    He had a personal touch with everyone he taught and he never forgot the children that he taught. He would always ask us the latest news about our daughters. My wife and I and our daugthers extend our sympathies to his wife and son.
    I think it would be wonderful if a Robert Ector Fund could be established at Taylor School in his memory. I feel that many of his former students and their families would want to contribute to it. I will speak with the principal of Taylor next week about this idea.
    Gerald Grudzen

  10. tia Says:

    There were so many at the memorial service yesterday. My dad & I stood the whole time, but we were at least able to be in the memorial room.

    Hi Mrs. Pund :] That’s right — it was “I’m a Snow Man”, not Frosty the Snowman!

    & Gerald, that’s a great idea.

    These comments are great. Maybe I’ll compile them & send them to Pat/Michael.

  11. Gail Says:

    We at Taylor School have been talking about having a Memorial for Robert, and inviting the community and all others who want to attend. I’ll let you know when more solid plans have been made. Gerald, I had your Corita in first grade! The Memorial would be a great time to introduce the Robert Ector Fund.

    The service was beautiful. Finally, I got to see Maurice after hearing so much about him! And the fraternity brothers! So touching……
    One of my favorite parts of the service was when the sun shone through the blue stained glass windows! I know I’m not the only one that said.”Hi Robert!” then. Your Pastor’s words were very comforting and filled me with a sense of hope.

    I noticed one of Robert’s former students dressed up in a sports coat and tie! This is a very big change from his regular attire. He said he would like to participate in the Memorial. He said he, and his buddies, would do ANYTHING for Mr. Ector!!


    Robert was an extraordinary brother. I loved his humor, his patience and his gentleness. He was the standard by which I selected a husband. He always had the perfect gesture and was always with me, even when we were apart. I told Robert that even if he was not my brother, I would want him in my life as a friend. Robert, when it is my time to pass on, please come and get me. I know that if you hold my hand, I will not be afraid. I will forever love you. your sister, Chiquita

    • Justin Kirksey Says:

      Sorry about his passing.. I remember seeing him right before it all happened. I saw him in June 2007 I’d say june 15ish which was right after I graduated. I’d like to get in touch with michael and see how he is doing aswell. I remember meeting up with him a few times in elementary school at taylor.

    • Judith Garvey Says:

      Chiquita, contact Judith Garvey

  13. Ryan M. Says:

    Mr. Ector as i remember him, was my favorite teacher. I had him while i was in fourth and fifth grades at Taylor Elementary. He was a funny guy and no matter what situation you were in, he was always there for you. I am now a freshman in high school and live in Sac. I have very fond memories of him and wil cherish those memories. He was always the teacher you wanted. I remember in first grade, I was new to the school and didn’t know anyone, then during class, Mr. Ector walked in with a huge smile and asked me how i was doing and that was my first memory of him. He will always be remembered and nver forgotten.

  14. michelle Says:

    hi my name is michelle and i was one mr .ector’s student this year.i m sad because i didnt attend his funerl.but michael , pat
    i was a terrible thing for bertha taylor elementry school.
    hey he’s in our heart !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. florence Says:

    hi mr ector was my teacher .he was the best !!!!! everybody misses him .MY SISTER WAS IN HIS CLASS and he was very ,very,very aswome!!i just want him back!!!!! he also made his famous turkey before christmas!!!!!SEE YA LATER

  16. Kurt Schumacher Says:

    I just googled Mr. Ector out of curiousity and was saddened to hear of his passing. He was one of the best teachers I ever had. He found out I read voraciously early in the year, and wanted to challenge my reading skills. He gave me a book (Shogun) in the sixth grade that I must have read at least twenty times.

  17. Steve Clark Says:

    When i heard this summer that Mr. Ector had passed i was very saddened. My brother and i attended Taylor in the early years (back when the school mascot was a tornado, and Mr Ector was sporting a “Jheri Curl”). My fondest memories of him are all the times he spent playing football with myself and my friends. I cant remember which year I actually had him as a teacher, but it didnt matter. From 1st-6th he was always around to throw us a football, or grab us by the arm if we were being too obnoxious. This summer I moved back to my old neighborhood and my son Trevor now attends Taylor school in Miss Pullara’s 3rd grade class. I really wish my son would have had a chance to know Mr Ector like my brother and I did, but it seems Trevor already knows all…about… Mr Ector. Another testament to the legacy he has left with the faculty and students..

  18. Adrianne Says:

    Mentoring 6th graders for the first time this year I had to find a photo of myself from that time. The photo was of Mr. Ector and I at 6th grade graduation almost 20yrs ago. That made me google his name and I am so sorry to hear of his passing. Mr Ector was the best teacher and one of the only ones that looked like me. I can remember him calling me Diana all the time because he said I looked like Diana Ross. He will never know how much his encouragement helped me during a very rough time. He challenged me and for that I am grateful.
    In His Service
    Evangelist Adrianne (Smith) Buchanan

  19. tia Says:

    Pat and Mike,

    In two days, it’ll have been a year. And according to my blog’s stats, I still have people reading this post and reading about Robert at least a handful of times a week …

    I’m sure I speak for so many of us when I say that we are still thinking of both of you and Robert … and praying for you.

    We’ll see him soon. “In the sweet by and by.”


  20. michelle Says:

    hey thats true TIA!!!!i think that taylor shouldve done a special memorial
    for him cause his is/was so special to all of us.
    well all i know is that MR.ECTOR is STILL inOUR HEARTS!!!!!!!!!
    (michelle orozco 6th ,nolan)
    love you MR.ECTOR

  21. michelle Says:

    well it has been 1 year 4months . but man we say he is still in our hearts !no matter where we are we’ll know he is still our family !

    MR.ECTOR we are missing something in our hearts and that is you Mr.ector !

  22. michelle Says:

    i miss him with tears in my eyes i miss him !
    i remember back in the 5 th grade early hot summer days .
    if he was thirsty i’d run to the cafeteria and get him the two most important things a water and a orange ! Do you know how he peeled them ? with his teeth ! yeah thhose e’re the best times ! well bye

  23. letitia Says:

    Michelle, he’s definitely not forgotten :]

  24. Charles Coachman Says:

    I miss my dear friend Robert and think about him often. I recently went to visit the spot where he was laid to rest and again let him know how much we all missed him and I know he smiled down on me that day.
    Now we are all deeply saddened that Michael the son Robert loved so much has taken his own life. Darlene and I are feeling such a great loss, we love this family dearly. No words can express the pain that we feel at this time, our hearts break for Pat. Only the love and embrace of a compassionate God can see us through this time, we cannot get through this without our Lord!
    God hear our prayers for the comforting peace that only you can provide.

    C. Coachman

  25. letitia Says:

    The visits to this post have been many since Robert passed away, but many more have been revisiting this entry since Michael also passed away.

    For those who are visiting this again, as grief often revisits other griefs, here are some recent thoughts in light of Michael’s death…

    A Conversation with Doubt

    How He Loves

    And Pat, I will tell you in person with a hug when I see you, but if you are reading this: I’m praying for you and hurting, hurting, hurting with you … to the extent that I can. He loves us …

  26. Ashley Massey Says:

    Mr. Ector,
    A teacher I’ll never forget. I loved him then and always will. I miss him everyday. I have his picture on my wall and door. Our news letter i look at it everyday. His last class picture on my wall. Taylor is not the same and will never be the same. I remember running around for him. If i didn’t understand something, He would sit and explain it to me. I could tell him anything i needed to. He was so sweet. I miss him and every year I go and visit him. I love Mr. ector my favorite teacher forever.

  27. Bianca Aguilar Says:

    Mr. Ector was my fifth grade teacher and even though it’s been almost five years now, Mr.Ector still remains in my thoughts and to be honest I don’t think I ever met another teacher with his exact same wonderful qualities. He always got us kids cracking up or just got us all smiling when he sang his songs. He knew how to make everyone feel great and was just an amazing fun person to be around. I’m so glad that I was given the opportunity of being in his class even if it wasn’t for that long. I will always miss him and cherish each precious memory like a gift. R.I.P Mr.Ector . I will always miss you. – Bianca

  28. One of the greatest things that we can do in life is to have a positive influence on others that makes a lasting impression. Robert Ector (forever to be “Mr. Ector” in my mind) was my 4th grade teacher at Christopher Elementary School in 1975 and had just that kind of impact on me. All these years later, there are still moments with him that are vivid; moments that were just really good fun and moments that were fundamental life lessons delivered with empathy and compassion. There were a handful of adults I had the good fortune of knowing, who helped me to grow to become the man that I am today; I am so proud and so thankful that Robert was one of them. Though his time here wasn’t as long as we all would have wished for, I know that he made that time as rich for all he knew as he did for me and that’s a blessing. Thank you, Mr. Ector.

  29. Frank Bacosa II Says:

    MR.ECTOR was a Great teacher, he was one of my 4th and 5th grade teachers at Bertha Taylor Elementary and his name has stuck with me for all these years. I am almost 33 years old now. I was googling his name to see if there was any way I might be able to contact him on Facebook or something (lol) and Thank him for being such an influence in my life. It really broke my heart to see that he is no longer here, but I know that he its definitely in a better place now. 😦


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