Robert Trump died on Thursday in Cornwall, Lebanon County, but those who knew him as a Mars School Board member and president, track and field official or co-founder of the Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School remember his love for children.
Trump and his wife, Louise, raised their family in the Mars Area School District, and Trump didn't take a passive role in the district, to say the least.
He served on the Mars School Board and was elected board president, and took an interest in his daughters' penchant for track and field while at Mars Area High School.
Clement Papik of Middlesex Township was a physical science and chemistry teacher at the school for 32 years before retiring in 1996.
Papik served as coach for many sports at Mars in his tenure, and continued coaching track and field after his retirement.
Papik recalled Trump as an active track parent who took the steps to become a track and field official.
“He officiated all my meets, and he helped run a lot of the field events,” Papik said. “He was a guy who gave very generously of his time for the benefit of the kids.”
Papik said he and Trump traveled together to state track and field meets, where Trump occasionally served as an official.
Trump was well-liked among not just the track team, but all the students with whom he came into contact.
“He was one of those guys who just liked to help kids and see that they got a fair shake and got all the opportunities they could, so they could be successful,” Papik said.
He recalled that Trump also helped out with the high school's marching band, the Mars Fightin' Planets, during the 1970s.
“He was a very giving person,” Papik said. “He always would volunteer when things were needed at school.”
Trump believed that because he was unable to help those who had found the achiever in him when he was young, he made the extra effort to pay it forward by helping the Mars students and district.
“He definitely made a difference,” Papik said. “He was that kind of a guy.”
Trump used his expertise as an engineer to help found the vo-tech school, where he also served on the board of directors, Papik said.
Papik was sorry to hear of his old friend's death.
“He was a very good friend, and he will be very sadly missed,” he said.
Tim Tyler, Mars High's golf coach and a former Mars Middle School teacher who retired after 35 years, met Trump through his daughter, Linda, when she ran track.
“He was a great guy,” Tyler said. “Very involved in track and field. I would see him at the state track meets every year.”
He called Bob and Louise Trump good people who gave their time to better the lives of Mars' students.
“He was all about the community and education and kids,” Tyler said.
He always received a warm greeting from Trump every time the two would come into contact.
“Every time I saw him, we were happy to see each other,” Tyler said. “Big handshakes and a hug and 'good to see you.' ”
He won't forget Trump's dedication to his community and school district.
“He just cared about the community and about the kids,” Tyler said. “My best wishes and prayers to his family.”