This tribute was written by Upward Bound Director, Aaron Gersonde:
We are beyond saddened to announce that long-time Upward Bound instructor, Tom Roberts has passed away. For those of you who had not met him, he had been an Upward Bound summer instructor since the 1980s. He developed the curriculum for UB summer Biology and other content areas, faithfully taught summer classes for UB, and was one of the most cherished, precious, incredible people you could have ever met.
He was known by many of us as TR or Coach, and his contribution to young people over his long career is literally impossible to measure. He graduated from App State, taught science at Ashe County High School for most of his life, coached football for ages, was involved in the community, his family, and in all things Upward Bound.
I could (and will) go on and on about TR. He was the pinnacle of a caring, motivating, strong, understanding, knowledgeable, and self-less educator, father, brother, son, friend, and colleague. I know I speak for the Upward Bound staff and students when I say we will forever grieve his passing. We honor TR for all he contributed to our program, but moreover, for all he gave to every single person he encountered throughout his life. You were a better person in undeniable ways for having known TR. His sweet, genuine nature would draw you close to him. He had a love for life and a passion for mentoring, educating, and coaching young people. This would radiate from him and fill you with the sense that he had dedicated his life to others, simultaneously empowering you to do the same.
We extend our most profound sympathies to TR's family. We will miss him always.