Robin Cheryl (Roberts) Taft

December 11, 1950 ~ April 11, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old

Robin Taft Obituary

Robin Cheryl Taft, 72, of Rochester, passed away on April 11, 2023 at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO. Robin was born in Clayton, MO., the daughter of Troy Carl and Jean (Armstorng) Roberts. She married Steve Taft on July 14, 1979 and he survives.

Robin lived in Rochester for 50 years and worked for Rochester School District as a P.E. teacher and girls volleyball and track coach.

Rochester Athletic Director J.R. Boudouris recently referred to Robin as the "First Lady of Rochester Girls Athletics," and for good reason.

It probably wasn't a coincidence that Robin arrived at Rochester roughly 50 years ago, which also was when Title IX opened new doors of athletic opportunity for girls and women.

She coached Rochester girls volleyball for 18 years and RHS girls track for 25 years, all while serving 33 years as a girls physical education teacher for grades four through eight.

Volleyball and track were her coaching passions, and she really put her stamp on the Lady Rockets' track program.

Rochester earned three top-three Class A girls state track finishes in the 1990s -- including the team championship in 1994. 

Robin was enshrined into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Rochester also named its track for Robin and her boys coaching counterpart, Bill Derks, in 2010.

Even after she retired as head track coach in 1998, Robin remained a presence at home meets at Rocket Booster Stadium. If she wasn't running the meets, she was volunteering wherever she was needed.

And even if she wasn't coaching or volunteering, she could be found in the bleachers, cheering for Rochester teams of all levels. 

As a coach, teacher or simply a fan, Robin had an impact on many Rochester students and student-athletes over the years. Sometimes just her distinctive voice, was enough to push Rochester athletes to higher levels.

While Robin was most visible as a teacher and coach, she did have time for other passions.

She loved St. Louis Cardinal baseball, sewing, golfing, poker, traveling, seeing her grandkids, snow skiing, 4-wheeler trips and helping run the family ribeye steak stand at the Illinois State Fair.

She poured as much into those activities as she did into coaching. Bill Derks said it best in that same 1997 newspaper story.

"Robin gives it all she's got. She always has."

Robin is preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Tracey Roberts. 

She is survived by her husband Steve; son, Aaron Taft and daughter, Mandy Burke; 5 grandchildren; two brothers, Troy and Kevin Roberts; 4 sisters, 

  Lynn Clugston, Michelle Pranger, Jeanie Schue, and Candy Roberts-Salter; as well as many Nieces and Nephews.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 from 4:00-7:00PM at Rochester Christian Church. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 11:00AM at the church with Pastor Brad Ferris officiating. Burial will follow at Rochester Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to Rochester High School c/o Girl’s Volleyball and Track Teams.

Wilson Park Funeral Home in Rochester is in charge of arrangements. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robin Cheryl (Roberts) Taft, please visit our floral store.

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April 18, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Rochester Christian Church
325 S. Walnut St.
Rochester, IL 62563

April 19, 2023

11:00 AM
Rochester Christian Church
325 S. Walnut St.
Rochester, IL 62563

April 19, 2023

12:00 PM
Rochester Cemetery
Rochester, IL 62563


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