Rob Tobias ’81 (1959-2019)


Photo: Mark Gaier/ESPN Images

By Contributed Obituary

Rob Tobias died November 15 after a year-long and courageous fight with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.  He was 60 years old.

He was born October 2, 1959 in Hartford, CT, and was raised by his parents, Walter and Evelyn Tobias, in Simsbury, CT.  After graduating from Simsbury High School in 1977, he attended Emerson College, from which he graduated in 1981. Rob was a lifelong and passionate sports fan, and after selling cable television, an emerging medium, in 1983 he decided he wanted to join ESPN, a fledgling cable sports television network.  In an early example of the persistence and creativity that marked his professional career, he started working at ESPN before he was officially hired, simply by tagging along with a friend who already worked there in operations.  He had arrived, and he wasn’t leaving.

 Eventually he was formally hired and landed in the network’s Communications department, where he enjoyed a distinguished career promoting every facet of the company over the years.  He was exceptionally creative and dedicated to shining a light on others, but shunned the spotlight himself.  He was a problem solver and a mentor to so many, using his warm personality, wonderful sense of humor and giving nature to make everyone in his orbit better.  

 He retired from ESPN in 2015 and eventually launched his own communications consulting firm, and rapidly grew an eclectic client list, expanding his influence beyond sports to the entertainment industry.

 Perhaps the role he relished the most was father to his son, Zack, also an Emerson student who interned, successfully, at ESPN this past summer.

 Rob was predeceased by his mother.  He is survived by his son, Zack; his fiancé, Bridget Ruehl and her daughters, Annie and Chloe; his father, Walter, and his wife, Evelyn; a brother, Steven, and his wife, Robin; a sister, Karen (Stanford) and her husband, Ken, and several nieces and nephews.

 Funeral services were held Monday, Nov. 18 at Abraham L Green & Son Funeral Home, 88 Beach Road, Fairfield, CT, followed by a burial ceremony at Beth Hillel Synagogue, Congregation Teferes Israel, 80 Wolcott Road in East Granby.

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance.

This Obituary was provided to The Beacon by Abraham L Green and Son Funeral Home. It is published at the request of the Tobias family.