Ken Robinson

Died — May 10th, 2019

Ken was born in Omaha, Nebraska at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital, and attended Windsor Grade School before moving to Phoenix, Arizona in the 6th grade.  He and his family enjoyed camping trips up on the Mogollon Rim, and Ken learned to fly fish from his grandmother, Sarah.  After his freshman year in high school, his family moved to Westfield, New Jersey.  Ken was a track & field and cross country star in the mile and 880 yard dashes and helped his high school team win state titles in both sports.  He earned a full athletic scholarship to Arizona State University where he was a valuable member of the track & field team.  Ken excelled in the mile, two-mile, 880 yard races, and sometimes anchored the 440 yard relay.  He took special pride in competing at the Cal Relays and Penn Relays.  He also competed on the ASU cross country team where he developed some of his life-long friends.  He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics at ASU.  He later earned an advanced degree in Police Administration and Management from Northwestern University in Illinois.

     Ken joined the Tempe Police Department in 1971 where he had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement.  He served the department through undercover work, patrol, motorcycle division, Special Operations (including SWAT and narcotics), traffic bureau, criminal investigations, police certification, and was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for special task force assignments.  Ken became a Police Academy class sergeant who trained four classes of police recruits, all of which he was extremely proud.  He was promoted to police sergeant and then police lieutenant, and received the Meritorious Service Award in 2001.  From his position of leadership, he championed women and other minorities by expanding opportunities for hiring and advancement.  His career provided him with many exciting stories that were shared and retold, to friends and family.

     After retiring from the Tempe Police Department in 2002, Ken and his family moved to Nederland, Colorado, where Ken was hired as the Town Marshal/Chief of Police.  In addition to his duties as Town Marshal, Ken also helped coach the Nederland Middle Senior High School running teams, which won four consecutive high school state cross country titles.  Along with his ten years of volunteer coaching in Colorado, he is loved and respected by many of the athletes he expertly coached in Arizona.  He was active in various nonprofit and community organizations in both Arizona and Colorado, such as United Way, the Nederland Community Backdoor Theatre, and the Boulder Valley School District Capital Improvements Planning Committee.

     Ken’s many interests included trail running, hiking, biking and road cycling, lead rock climbing, and expert downhill skiing, all in the mountains from Kilimanjaro to the Tetons.  He treasured playing his Martin and electric guitars as well as discovering new music and replaying his favorites.  Ken enjoyed traveling on numerous adventures with his wife, Sabrina; one of their greatest highlights was a four month European expedition.  His family admired him for his pursuit of knowledge, one example being his determination to master the Spanish language.  Ken took great pleasure in playing golf, making new friends, cherishing old friends, and spending time with his loving family.  He earned his private pilot’s license with an instrument rating, and flew friends and family to many destinations, including Catalina Island and the Grand Canyon.

     Ken Robinson passed away on Friday, May 10, 2019 in Longmont, Colorado.

     Ken will be remembered for his generous heart, quick mind, famous pancakes, and emotional honesty.  Music, both listening and performing, was an important part of his life.  Whether he knew you a long time or had just met you, his compassion, sense of justice, courage and curiosity were present in every relationship.  He had a spontaneous sense of humor, and was an extraordinary and imaginative human being who made the world a better place.

     Ken celebrated his 28th wedding anniversary last year with the love of his life, Sabrina.  Together they parented five children, Kirk, Sara, Kris, Kaile, and Kelley.  It is no secret that the things that brought him the most joy in life were his family.  He is also survived by his siblings, Kathryn, Richard, Bill, Victoria and Jon; his five grandchildren; his nieces and nephews; numerous other relatives; and his many loyal and loving friends.

     In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the DeGregorio Family Foundation (esophageal and gastric cancer research due to Barrett’s esophagus); UCHealth Cancer Center-Anschutz Medical Campus; The Carter Center in Atlanta; or UNICEF.








Sabrina--we are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Ken. May the Lord keep His arms wrapped around you and your family as you go through this tragic time. Your love for each other and your commitment and love for your family is an example for all to follow. Love and prayers--Bob and Peggy
Sabrina and family, Ken touched so many lives including mine. He was a giant in this world. Peace be with you. I send my heartfelt thoughts.
Sabrina and family, Ken touched so many lives including mine. He was a giant in this world. Peace be with you. I send my heartfelt thoughts. Rebecca Linn
So sorry for your loss Sabrina. Ken was a great mentor to me and I enjoyed working with him on a couple of occasions at Tempe PD. May God comfort you and your family in your time of loss. Doug Sargent
Dear Sabrina, My deepest sympathy to you and your children on the loss of Ken. Through the kindness of you both and invitations to share Thanksgiving with you all, I saw what a beautiful bond of love there was in your family. He will be deeply missed by all his friends but most painfully by you. I'm sending loving thoughts for you in getting through this most difficult time. Luana DeVol (Brian's Mom)
Sabrina and family, I am very sorry for your loss, Kenny was one of a kind and Rich and I loved him very much, just remember he will be with all of you and watch over you all, all my love to you all. Chris Kuna
It really saddened me to learn of Ken's illness and passing. I worked with Ken at the DEA task force and knew him professionally and socially. He was a most valuable member of the task force , a true professional. He was always extremely well thought of by his co-workers and friends.
Ken was an outstanding investigator, mentor and coworker at the Phoenix DEA Task Force in the ‘70s, and he was one of the nicest fellows I ever knew in 25 years in law enforcement.