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Tim Robertson

Photo courtesy of: Robertson family

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University mourns loss of Patton doctoral student

Tim Robertson was father figure who shared wisdom with classmates


Ohio University mourns the loss of Timothy Charles Robertson, a second-year doctoral student in the Patton College of Education's Counselor Education program.

Robertson, 60, of Webbville, Ky., died Jan. 26 in Kings Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky., after a sudden illness. According to his obituary, he was born Oct. 27, 1953, in Indianapolis to Margie McQuillen Robertson and the late Harold Robertson.

While pursuing his doctoral degree, Robertson worked as a mental health counselor and as a counselor educator at Lindsey Wilson College and Eastern Kentucky University. He earned his master's degree in counseling from Marshall University in 1989. ­

During his illustrious career, Robertson was the first mental health counselor licensed in Kentucky and served on the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. He also was active in leadership in the Kentucky Counseling Association. He was a Kentucky Colonel and an elder at the Willard Church of Christ, where he taught adult Sunday school.

Robertson is survived by his wife of 40 years, Cindy Grand Robertson; son, Joshua (Elizabeth) Robertson; and three daughters, Tiersa Davis and Jessica and Ashley Robertson. He is also survived by three brothers, Mark, Phillip and David Robertson. A memorial service was held Feb. 1 in Grayson, Ky.

Due to Robertson's unexpected death and the special impact he had in the Patton College, he was memorialized in a two-hour informal gathering of his fellow graduate students and faculty and staff members in McCracken Hall on Jan. 30. Here are a few of the thoughts shared about Robertson during the gathering:

"Tim had an academic excellence with a ton of counseling experience and was only pursuing his doctorate so that he could teach as a full-time professor at the college level. He spoke into my life as a friend, counselor, educator and colleague. He was always smiling and would make small jokes to lighten the mood. He was so knowledgeable and had a brilliant mind," said Sean Gorby, a second-year master's student in counselor education.

"Tim enlightened the concept of leadership for me. He gave me inspiration and encouragement to take back to Turkey with me. He was like a father to me in many ways because he had three daughters. He was just a caring person who I'll never forget. He gave us all a sense of relief," said Bilge Sulak, a third-year doctoral student in counselor education.

"What I loved about Tim was that he valued everyone's opinion, even if it was opposite his. He told me to do what makes me happy and he truly supported my differentness. I'll miss our talks and his encouragement and his passion for education – it was unreal. I wish you could have met him," said Danielle Knowles, a second-year doctoral student in counselor education.

"Tim was an amazingly humble human being. He came to the program at a very advanced stage of his career as a counselor, but he was very knowledgeable and skilled. He had a great thirst for knowledge and was enthusiastic and wanted to learn more. He recently talked about wanting to write academic articles so that he could leave his legacy in the counseling profession. We all admired his dedication to his family and the program. Tim had wide interests and we wondered if he ever slept. He drove two hours a day to get here, submitted his assignments on time, was active in his church and also taught at two different universities. He was a pretty special human being and the program is grieving his loss," said Christine Bhat, associate professor of counselor education.

"He was a remarkable person who made everyone around him comfortable. Tim was an expert in the counseling field, but never made anyone feel as though he knew more than them or that he was more advanced. He made everyone feel special and I loved that about him," said Beth Schilling-Furbee, a second-year doctoral student in counselor education.

"I saw Tim as more than a friend. He was more like a father figure because he was the oldest student and I was the youngest student in our cohort. I learned a lot from him personally and professionally. He took an interest in me as a person and connected me with many Indian counselors working in the U.S. so that when I return home to India I'll have contacts here. We would have had our comps exams on Monday and I was thinking about him the whole time. We were planning to publish a paper together if he hadn't become sick. I already miss him dearly," said Priscilla Selvaraj, a second-year doctoral student in counselor education.

Students in need of professional support can call Ohio University Counseling and Psychological Services 24 hours a day at 740-593-1616.