Robert Goetschke grew up in the Mahopac neighborhood in New York City's suburbs. Robert Goetschkes attended SUNY Oneonta, where he majored in history, economics, and foil fencing. Following graduation, Robert Goetschkes worked in the United States Peace Corps in Tonga for 2.5 years before enlisting in the United States Coast Guard during Gulf War I, where he served with distinction for 11 years. Robert Goetschkes then went on to receive a Master of Arts in Elementary Education with a Field Endorsement in Secondary Social Sciences, which enabled him to continue teaching for another 25 years. Robert Goetschke also worked as an aquarium diver at the Henry Doorly Zoo for five years and as a member of the Red Cross Disaster Services Department for five years.