K-State Mourns The Passing of Joe Robertson

Robertson, who passed away at 95 on May 2, played for Hall of Fame head coach Jack Gardner during his first season in 1939-40.

May 10, 2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Joe Robertson, the oldest living men’s basketball lettermen at Kansas State, recently passed away at the age of 95 at his home in Brownstown, Ind.

Robertson, who played for multiple Hall of Fame head coach Jack Gardner during his first season at Kansas State Agricultural College in 1939-40, passed away on May 2 and was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Brownstown on May 7. Gardner would go onto post a 147-81 (.645) record during two stints as head coach in 1939-42 and 1946-53, including two trips to the Final Four and three Big Seven Conference titles.

Robertson would be named the Outstanding Student in the College of Agriculture during his time at K-State before leaving the school to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Upon graduating with a degree in cereal chemistry, he would return to his hometown of Brownstown to work for the family milling company, Robertson Corporation. He would become president in 1981, becoming the fifth generation to head the company, before serving as chairman of the board in 1999.

An avid traveler who went around the world three times and visited 167 countries, Robertson was the author of a travel book titled “On Kilroy’s Trail,” which chronicled many of his travels around the globe.

Robertson met his wife, Virginia Baxter, a two-time Miss Manhattan at Kansas State and they were married on Nov. 23, 1941. Mrs. Robertson preceded him in death in 2007 after 66 years of marriage. He is survived by his son, Joe Robertson, Jr., daughter-in-law, Patricia, and grandson, Charles Joseph “C.J.” Robertson, all of Portland, Ore.

Memorial may be given to the Brownstown Presbyterian Church or Joseph E. Robertson Genealogical Library.