Breaking News: Longest serving active faculty member dies due to cancer complications

Update, May 5, 3:42 p.m.: This story has been updated to include an interview with Greg Warzecka, ARC’s athletic director, and more information about Towers’ education and career.

The longest serving active faculty member at American River College died late Friday due to complications from cancer.

Kinesiology professor Robert Towers was honored in Fall 2014 for his 50 years at ARC.

ARC president Thomas Greene sent out an email to faculty and staff this morning notifying everyone of Towers passing.

“Per Bob’s wishes, there will be no formal services at this time. Should any memorial activities be planned, we will keep you informed,” Greene said in the email.

Jeanette Powless, the head coach for the women’s cross country and track programs, spoke about her time knowing Towers.

“The thing I respected about him most was how he always pushed his students to try harder,” Powless said.

Powless also commented on her relationship with Towers.

“We had a nice bond. He would refer students from his walk and jog class to cross country and track.”

“He did a tremendous amount of fitness classes, “ said athletic trainer Tim Finney.

“We extend our sincere condolences to Bob’s family and friends at this time. We also honor Bob’s extensive service to ARC. He received his 50-year award for service in Fall 2014,” said Greene in the email.

Towers attended four colleges including Mesa college, Colorado State College, the University of Connecticut and Syracuse College where he received his master’s degree in science.

Not only did he attend several colleges, but Towers also coached and taught at several different schools.

Towers was an assistant football, baseball and wrestling coach at Wray High School in Wray Colorado, an assistant football coach and science teacher at El Camino High School in Sacramento and a wrestling coach at Sacramento City College and American River College.

“He was an instructor for circuit training, boot camp, circuit weight training, body fitness, badminton, and golf,” said ARC athletic director Greg Warzecka. “Those are just few of the many classes he taught.”

Towers held high standards for his students.

“Students who wanted a high level of fitness would take his classes,” said Warzecka.

Among the many pictures and articles showcasing his accomplishments Towers has a map in his office with pins on all of the places he has traveled to.

During his time at ARC, Towers was known to plan trips for faculty members.

“He was like the travel agent,” said physical education professor Kathleen Sullivan-Torrez.

The Current will update this story as more information becomes available.

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About the Author

Cheyenne Drury
Cheyenne Drury is a third-semester student on the American River Current, where she serves as the Editor-in-chief. She previously served as arts and culture editor and news editor. She is double majoring in journalism and photojournalism. She has competed in softball, cross country and track all at the college level. She was published in the American River Review, the award winning college literary magazine.

8 Comments on "Breaking News: Longest serving active faculty member dies due to cancer complications"

  1. Pa Ku Yang | May 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Reply

    Im very grateful to have taken his badminton class and to have met him. I never knew he was ill. He warmed up with students by rallying and played so much better than some young folks. He still had a lot of tricks for his age. I admire him. He would always push us, give advice to improve and to become better. Although we did not know him for long, he has already inspire so many students. He will always be remembered. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to your students. I appreciate every effort.

  2. I’m saddened to hear about Professor Roberts passing. As a current student in his circuit training class, I can attest to the very high standards for his students. But once I goy to know him personally- he then became one of those professor that is with you in your corner, to make sure you have the right mindset to pervail . I have gained more than physicality in the class. I have learned that life is tough and sometimes you have to learn to enjoy the suffering that comes with it. That whatever you do be it running- which he advocated for, you must at the very least enjoy it and if you don’t begin to enjoy it. This was his gift for me and as I extend my condolences to his family I encourage everyone to live a life without regret. Live a life with conviction as Mr. Powers once did. Thank you again Mr. Powers-for all your words of encouragement. I plan to transfer to the University in the fall and will never forget how you have shaped me to become the person I am today.

  3. So sad. RIP.

  4. Winston Toft | May 30, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Reply

    I was deeply saddened to learn of Bob’s death. I traveled with him on three very enjoyable overseas trips which he led. We were roommates on a trip to Greece. He was a great guy and I liked him very much. He will be greatly missed by many.

  5. Winston Toft | May 30, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Reply

    I was deeply saddened to learn of Bob’s death. I traveled with him on three overseas trips which he led.

    I was deeply saddened to learn of Bob’s death. I traveled with him on three overseas trips which he led. We were roommates on a trip to Greece. He was a great guy and I liked him very much. I know he will be greatly missed by many.

  6. I received notification of Bob’s passing soon after he departed. Many who knew him were
    very saddened by having received this news. I was recently made aware of this site and
    its acknowledgment of a number of Bob’s accomplishments. I would like to add my thoughts.
    I have traveled extensively with him, very often as his roommate.
    So, I got to know him quite well….sharing information about past endeavors in
    our lives. He loved travel with friends that he got to know over the years through his work assignments and those who signed up for his travel adventures to many corners of the earth, often 2 or 3 extended trips a year. I owe much of my extensive travel
    experience to having had the pleasure of my association with him. My life has been
    enriched thru knowing him. For many years we competed in racquetball as well. He
    was quite a good sportsman, as I always looked forward to our weekly games.
    I have many, many fond memories that will endure. Yes, he is missed. Ray Loeffler

  7. Cress Merrill | June 23, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Reply

    I was just thinking about one of my memorable instructors at Sacramento City College, Mr. Bob Towers. I googled him and saw this and it saddened me. I took wrestling and weight training from him 66-68. He challenged me and allowed me to continue wresting even after I had my broken foot in a cast. He would bring in wrestlers from his team to wrestle me as a challenge, I was looking for a major and Biology was what I ended up pursuing. I never wrestled in college or high school but he suggested that I wrestle for Sacramento State. He saw something I didn’t see and unfortunately my educational and work schedule wouldn’t allow it. I regret I didn’t try but he gave me confidence when I needed it the most. Thanks Coach Towers, you are remembered.

  8. I too just discovered that Bob Towers is no longer with us. He was my chemistry teacher at El Camino High School in the sixties, so many years ago. Yet I’ve never forgotten him nor his wonderful family. When Bob learned that I was enduring a lot of turmoil at home, he and his wife invited me to live with them and their three children. They treated me like their own daughter, generous and loving.
    Bob loved sports, but he especially loved sharing what he knew with others. Every chemistry student loved his good humor and determination to help every one of us understand the principles of science. R.I.P.

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