Remembering Robo

It’s been a tough month for Staples graduates and former staff members.

Charley Rochlin (Class of 2003) and Jacquelyn Perez (’06) died in automobile accidents.

Players technical advisor/wizard Joe Zeigahn died of cancer.

On Monday, Jeff Meier passed away.

If that name doesn’t ring a bell, this one will:  “Robo.”

Jeff was Staples’ original “RoboCop.”  That was the nickname students gave him as Staples’ longtime security guard.  It’s become the generic moniker for every guard who’s followed.  But it fit Jeff — a Staples grad (’69) himself — well.  The movie of the same name came out around the time Jeff started working at Staples.  He wasn’t a cyborg, but like his cinematic doppelganger, he had his hands full trying to tame a population bent on doing things their own way.  In high school terms, that meant heading to the parking lot to smoke, drink and leave campus.

As with Joe Zeighan’s death, the sad news about Robo spread quickly on Facebook.  Suddenly, once again, Westporters of various vintages were drawn together.  Once again, their thoughts turned back to high school.  Now — with the wisdom of a few years– they could look back and see Robo as a human being, not a cop out to ruin their fun.

Here are some of the comments from Facebook:

🙁 he had a tough job…

Students who didn’t know Robo cop didn’t know what it was like to go to Staples 🙂

Wow.  That’s the end of an era, alright.  Man that guy made skipping class a damn adventure.

Absolutly a end of a era, haa we used to hide in trunks and have blankets over us sneaking out of school, those were damn fun times

Terrible, that guy was unreal…

RIP Robo…. he did make skippin an adventure.

And finally this from Steve Haberstroh, who told me about Jeff’s death the old-fashioned way — via email:

He was great.  Always fair, friendly and a true professional.  Think about his gig:  keep eager, scheming, gifted teenagers from skipping class for quick cigarette, trip to Compo or a #2 combo at Fortunas — no easy task.

(The Meier family will receive friends Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East.  All are invited to attend a funeral service Friday at 10 a.m. in the funeral home.  Interment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, Westport.)

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