Clarence Franklin Robison (1923-2006)

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Clarence Franklin Robison
Born: 18 Jun 1923 Fillmore, Utah
Died: 26 Sep 2006 Provo, Utah
Father: Archie Robison
Mother: Charlottie Eugenia Larsen
Siblings: Rolf Archie Robison
Jene Lorena Robison
Clarence Franklin Robison
Spouse: Monita Turley
Married: 31 Mar 1950 Manti, Utah
Children: Ronald Grant Robison
Steven Franklin Robison
Sandra Jane Robison
Mark Turley Robison
Scott Larry Robison
Natalie Robison
Jeffrey Charles Robison
Camille Robison
Bart Frederick Robison


The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, Wednesday, 27 Sep 2006:

Clarence Robison spent Monday picking apples at an orchard with his family, and had planned on doing the same the next day.

Instead he passed away in his sleep, at age 83, leaving behind a unique legacy of building the BYU track program into a national power. It left many of the people he touched sad, and at least one quite remorseful.

"Of all the times I had him come speak for church and youth groups of mine," former Cougar track star Doug Padilla said, "I wish I would've tape recorded what Robbie said."

"Robbie," as he was affectionately known by anyone who knew or competed for him, seemingly had a special place for all of humanity.

He could be quiet, but knew how to get a laugh.

Serious at practice, he was also an avid deer hunter who would show protégés how to take care of their catches -- and even do the dirty work for them.

He ran the track program on his own starting in 1949, and over 40 years turned it into an international entity. His influence, say his former athletes, was felt far beyond the blue track that now bears Robison's name.

He recruited anyone who would give the faith-based school a chance, from non-LDS Americans to Europeans who were exposed to the program because of Robison's penchant for competing overseas.

It didn't take much contact for him to become more than a coach. It was Robison's ability to relate to each individual, and talk with ease to various age groups, that was perhaps his greatest and most beloved asset -- and the one that will be missed the most.

"He didn't know a stranger," said Dick Legas, who competed for Robison and is now a team assistant. "He crossed all generations and all walks of life. And you never got the feeling that he felt superior to you. He was just a very, very good man."

BYU named the school's track stadium after him in April of 2004, as he became only the second sports figure to have a part of campus named after him.

LaVell Edwards, the longtime football coach, was honored four years prior with the team's stadium. Those who knew them both would consider it fair to compare the two. They each had longevity and success that is synonymous with BYU. Robison's teams won 18 conference championships and tied for the NCAA national championship in 1970. More than 100 All-Americans, including more than 20 national champions and 26 Olympians, were crafted in part by him.

The 1948 Olympics distance runner took the job on a whim, deciding he needed to make money and support a family rather than continue to compete as an amateur.

Like Edwards, Robison had a knack of relating to rambunctious college kids -- no matter the era.

To him, there were no bad apples.

The stories go on about Robison, who saw many spurts of innocent mischief. Once a prankster himself -- one legend has him putting an alligator in the sleeping tent of a fellow Navy serviceman -- his "kids" tested his patience by wearing chic denim suits in a shirt-and-tie environment. Or they'd show up to practice with a beard, which is unbecoming at BYU.

But don't mistake the rebellion for a lack of respect, say his "sons."

"He was a true father figure," Padilla said. "We knew he loved us, even if we let him down."

Said Legas: "He called me a knucklehead one time, and that's about as rough as he got."

Robison's son, Mark, is the current head coach of the BYU track team. He spent the day mourning with family and neighbors, who were also surprised that the longtime LDS church and civic leader did not awaken yesterday morning.

"We had a good time picking apples, and we were going to go again," said Robison, who is one of nine children, 41 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren left behind, along with Clarence's wife, Monita.

Funeral services will be held Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. at the Grandview South Stake Center on 1150 North Grandview Avenue in Provo. A viewing will be held Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. at the Berg Mortuary located at 185 East Center Street in Provo.

Mark Robison believes, like current coaches and former athletes, that his father's impact is felt on the program to this day. And not just because of a facility's name.

Young men who are now grandfathers and fathers are still steering their children to BYU, all because of the education of life and sport they received under Robison.

"It's incumbent on us to talk about Robbie, and live a life that he would approve," Legas said.

The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, Thursday, 28 Sep 2006:

Clarence Franklin Robison

Clarence Franklin Robison passed away peacefully in his sleep Tuesday, September 26, at his home in Provo, Utah.

Robbie, as he was known by his friends and loved ones, was born June 18, 1923 in Fillmore, Utah to Archie and Lottie Robison. He married Monita Turley on March 31, 1950 in the Manti Temple. Robbie served valiantly in the United States Navy during World War II from 1943 to July 1946 and was known for his integrity and leadership. Following the war he returned to Brigham Young University and resumed his place on the track team. The highlight of Robbie's athletic career came in 1948 when he was selected as a member of the U.S. Olympic Team to compete in London. The following year he toured Europe as a member of the U.S. National Track and Field team.

Following his stellar track career, Robbie realized his love for coaching and became the head track coach at Brigham Young University, a position he would hold for the next forty years. He served as a father figure and friend to hundreds of athletes during that time and was loved by all. In 1970, Robbie coached the team to a NCAA co-championship, the first national championship reached by any BYU athletic team. When Robbie retired in 1988 he left a powerful legacy behind. He had coached 26 Olympians and 118 All-Americans. More importantly, he has been a spiritual guide for so many of his beloved track "sons". In 2002, he was inducted into the U.S. Track Coaches Hall of Fame, and in 2004 BYU honored him by naming the outdoor track and field facility after him.

Robbie was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and found great joy in serving the Lord. In 1989, he was called to be mission president of the England Leeds Mission and served side by side with his dear wife, Monita. Robbie and Monita served in several other capacities together, including a mission to Istanbul, Turkey, and also directing the Missionary Training Center in Preston, England. Robbie and Monita's missionaries always looked to them not only as spiritual leaders but as friends.

The father of nine children, Robbie treasured the times that he spent with his family. He has forty-one grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, who lovingly call him "Pappy". He was known by all of them as a good man who truly loved his family and would do anything for them.

Robbie is survived by his wife Monita, sister Jene Bradfield, and his children: Ron (Ria), Steve (Carolyn), Sandy Olsen (Orrin), Mark (Jaye Lynn), Scott (Tina), Natalie Tanner (David), Jeff (Crystal), Camille Chipman (Steve), and Bart (Kori). He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Rolf.

Funeral services will be held Monday, October 2, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. at the Provo Grandview South Stake Center, 1122 North Grand Avenue, Provo. Friends may call Sunday evening at Berg Mortuary, 185 E. Center Street, Provo from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and also Monday morning at the stake center, prior to the services from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Interment in Provo Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions in honor of Coach Clarence Robison to the BYU Men's Track Account c/o LDS Philanthropies at BYU, 1501 North Canyon Road, Provo UT 84604-1607. Condolences may be sent to


  • Despain, Carrie Robison and Garner, Melba Despain. History & Genealogy of the Franklin Alonzo Robison Family, p. 101.
  • LDS Family Group Record Collection [Patron Section]
Submitted by: Clarence F. Robison
1682 W 900 N
Provo, Utah
Family of: Archie Robison & Charlottie Eugenia Larsen
  • LDS Family Group Record Collection [Patron Section]
Submitted by: Mrs. Monita T. Robison
Family of: Clarence Franklin Robison & Monita Turley
  • Descendants of William Jordan Flake, Dec. 1985, p. 2-97.
  • The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, Saturday, 31 May 2003, Obituary: Robison, Rolf Archie
  • Marriage: Western States Marriage Record Index:
ID Number: 549300
Groom Last Name: ROBISON
Groom First Name: Clarence Franklin (26)
Groom Residence: Provo, Utah, Utah
Bride Last Name: TURLEY
Bride First Name: Monica (19)
Bride Residence: Aripine, Navajo, Arizona
Place: Manti, Sanpete, Utah
Date: 31 Mar 1950
County of Record: Washington
State: Utah
Volume: E
Page: 485
Comment: Certificate # 3996 Manti Temple
  • Calling: LDS Church News, week ending 11 Mar 1989, New Mission President:
Clarence F. Robison, 65, Provo 27th Ward, Provo Utah North Stake; assigned to the England Leeds Mission; high priests group instructor, former regional representative, YMMIA general board member, bishop, and branch president; retired BYU professor; received bachelor's degree from BYU and master's degree from University of Michigan; born in Fillmore, Utah, a son of Archie and Charlottie U. Larson Robison; married Monita Turley; nine children. She is a Young Women president's counselor, former stake Young Women board member, ward Primary president and teacher, Young Women teacher, and Relief Society teacher; born in Aripine, Ariz., a daughter of Frederick Andrew and Wilma Caroline Fillerup Turley.
  • Calling: LDS Church News, week ending 7 Dec 1996, p. Z7:
The First Presidency announced the calls of new presidents of five missionary training centers.
The new presidents and their wives and assignments are: Eliot A. and Anna Mae Hughes Butler, Philippines; William J. and Mary Helen Clark Calvert, Colombia; Charles P. and Alta Rasmussen Lloyd, New Zealand; Guillermo and Socorro Saunders Torres, Mexico; Clarence F. and Monita Turley Robison, England. Pres. and Sister Lloyd have been serving in New Zealand since September. The other new leaders and their wives will be trained at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, and will begin their two-year terms of service following their training.
Clarence F. Robison, 73, was born in Fillmore, Utah, to Archie and Charlottie Eugenia Larsen Robison. He married Monita Turley, and they have nine children. He has been serving at the Provo Senior Missionary Training Center. He was president of the England Leeds Mission, and served with his wife in the Greece Athens Mission. He served as bishop and branch president, regional representative, and MIA general board member. He has worked as a health science professor and track coach at BYU, and he served on the Provo City School Board for 20 years.
Sister Robison was born in Aripine, Ariz., to Frederick A. and Wilma Caroline Fillerup Turley. She has been serving with her husband at the Provo Senior Missionary Training Center. She has served as a counselor and teacher in the Young Women, Relief Society teacher and Sunday School teacher, and with her husband in Greece and England. They are members of the Provo North 2nd Ward, Provo Utah North Stake.
  • LDS Church News, week ending 23 Feb 2002, p. Z15:
Olympic Torch Bearers
Clarence F. Robison, 78, Grandview 14th Ward, Provo Utah North Stake, ran the 5000 meter in the 1948 Olympics in London, England. As head track coach at Brigham Young University for 40 years, he has influenced many athletes.