The following is a message from Teke Kelley, Summer Search National Board Chair.
Dear Summer Search Community,
I am writing with the very sad news that Robin Klaus, National Board Member and Chair of the National Finance Committee, has passed away. Robin was recently diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. He initially responded well to his medical treatment, but the cancer proved to be too aggressive. He died peacefully with loved ones by his side.
I last spoke with Robin shortly after his diagnosis. While he was candid about the nature of his prognosis, he was also his typical upbeat self, joking with me about his doctors and the treatment that was ahead. He deftly moved the conversation away from his medical condition (“Enough about that — let’s talk about Summer Search!”), and we proceeded, as we have many times over the years, to discuss the many great things that are happening in the Summer Search world.
I left the conversation with Robin as I always do: feeling upbeat, supported, and optimistic. He was a man who was comfortable with himself, and he had the remarkable ability - even under very difficult circumstances - to make everyone around him feel comfortable too. He was a good friend, and I will miss him very much. I know that many in the Summer Search community feel the same.
Robin has been involved with Summer Search for 25 years. He was a member of the inaugural North Bay Board, became a member of the Bay Area Board after the merger, and has been a long-standing member of the National Board.
Robin’s business acumen made him a natural to lead finance and audit committees, and his unparalleled interpersonal skills made him a quiet confidant of every Executive Director, CFO, CEO, and board chair with whom he worked. Robin was the chair of the North Bay Board finance committee when I first joined that board and the chair of the National Board finance committee at the time of his passing.
Along the way, and among many other things, he served on the search committee that hired CEO Amy Saxton (a process that lasted almost two years) and was instrumental in developing Summer Search’s revenue, accounting and reserve models. His imprint on Summer Search is indelible. We are so lucky to have had his leadership.
After Robin passed, I spoke with Linda Mornell (Summer Search Founder), who had seen Robin recently. She shared these thoughts about him:
"As founder of Summer Search it is hard to identify specific moments that Robin impacted the entire organization as he was so present in so many ways for so long. At the very beginning he helped me see how important movement and change is if a program is to grow. Founders don’t often let go but I did. He did the same thing early on when our first satellite program in Boston was struggling with change. For sure, Robin was there in difficult moments, but he was also present in the day-to-day as well as a key person in interviewing emerging leadership.
“Going deeper, Robin loved Summer Search. When I went to see him two weeks before he died, he wanted to talk about the amazing legacy of the program. Robin was a big part of that legacy, and we loved him back. He will be deeply missed and forever a part of the remarkable Summer Search story."
We will share details about a memorial for Robin when they become available. In the meantime, myself and many of Summer Search’s staff and board have offered our deepest condolences to his wife, Patricia, and his children, Ian and Evan.
Rest in Peace, Robin.
We invite you to honor Robin's passion and leadership by making a gift to our Robin Klaus Memorial Fund.