For 54 years, every person that studied or worked at Jefferson has left his or her own mark. Some passed through in Hummingbird like fashion unaware of the opportunities the school could afford their future. Others stayed as long as three to four decades. In reality, only one man has has run the entire marathon, and from his vantage point, J-Hawk history matters. It always has, it always will. His name is Bob Ask, and he has blessed the West Side with an unabridged perspective we did not request or deserve.
Bob became a charter member of the Jefferson staff in 1977, after instructing at McKinley High School for five years. From the beginning he taught his beloved US History and Government, and id so with a tightly organized lecture format and made fifty minutes seem like fifteen. In addition, he served as line coach for nearly three decades of football teams along side head coaches George Hidinger, Ted Lawrence, and Jack Fisk. The exploits of those teams are legendary...three state titles and a career winning percentage in excess of 75%. All of this was accomplished while holding down duties as Social Studies Department Chair, deacon as hit church, Sunday school teacher, and father of four J-Hawk graduates- Janis, Becky, Jerry, and Carolyn. It is also astounding that each of Bob and Marilyn's nine grandchildren also graduated from Jefferson. In every case each of the Ask family members were involved in activities at Jefferson. Similarly Bob's brother, John Ask was a J-Hawk Business Education teacher and Hall of Fame track coach. Bob's daughter Janis and son-in-law Ron Tower also taught and coached at Jefferson for many years. Those were the halcyon days at Jefferson and members of the Ask family played leading roles.
As Jefferson's 25th anniversary approached in the early 1980's, tireless historian Bob sprang into action. With a Herculean effort he meticulously researched, wrote, and produced the sweeping and unblemished history of the school to that point. The product was a timeless classic entitled "High on The Hill". Always studying, planning, and learning, Bob penned what is today the immortal classic that recorded Jefferson's beginnings.
In the mid 1980's Bob hung up his whistle, but continued to assist the sport, overseeing the creation of the J-Hawk Football Hall of Fame that bears his mark today. Privately, Bob Created pristine scrapbooks of Jefferson Athletics and he has what must be the only complete collection of J-Hawk Football programs. It began in the fall of 1957, when a combined Wilson-Roosevelt squad but on Columbia blue and white for the first time. Not surprisingly, Bob continues to be a visible mainstay at all of
J-Hawk home games and many away. In-deed many J-Hawk gridders still seek Bob's presence in the locker room for pre-game prayers. Those special few who have witnessed his invocation will attest to taking the field before kickoff with moist eyes. Today he proudly possesses Many Kingston Stadium "firsts". He was the first to coach a game at Kingston (1952) and the first to coach a Jefferson team in Kingston (1957). He was there for the stadium's 50th anniversary and there again for Jefferson's 50th anniversary.
The "Dean of 119" retired from teaching in 1991 and was immediately inducted into the prestigious Jefferson Faculty Hall of Fame. Today Bob and wife Marilyn of 60 plus years, still live on 9th Avenue at the base of the high hill. Not surprisingly, all of the history entailed within this football program was written by Bob and proofread by Marilyn. The passion and enthusiasm for Jefferson continues to burn with white-hot devotion into his ninth decade of life.
Those who left indelible marks on history of Jefferson are numerous, There is certainly only one "Mr. Jefferson"...his model, legacy, and works perfect for all time. That man is J-Hawk Historian Robert Ask.
How were we so fortunate? to say, "Thanks you," hardly seems enough.
Jefferson J-Hawk Football