Robert N. Robinson
Robert N. Robinson, 94, passed away peacefully Jan. 8, 2013, surrounded by his family at home.
Robert was born Aug. 27, 1918, in Somerset, Ohio, the fourth son of Clayton C. and Glenna May Bidlack Robinson. He graduated from Radnor High School in 1936, and received agriculture and engineering degrees from The Ohio State University and a Master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Purdue University. Robert was married for 67 years to Jeanette M. (Wolfinger) Robinson. He is the father of Cathleen Ann Cagney, Jon Randall Robinson (Julianne) and Robert M. Robinson (Dorren); the grandfather of Megan Shea Robinson Cagney Pena (Paul), Katherine Elizabeth Robinson, Nora Kelsey Robinson, Jacob Wolf Robinson and Margaret Ella Robinson; and the great-grandfather of Pablo Pena. He is an uncle many times over, including of John Carl Martin, of Apollo Beach, Fla. Several of Robert’s brothers and his sister predeceased him: Russell, Cecil, Dale and Mary. His brothers J.B. and Clayton survive him.
Robert grew up on a farm in the middle of Ohio in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He grew up with the mindset that if you needed something, you grew it, or built it or made it. If something broke, you fixed it. If you couldn’t grow it or build it or make it or fix it, then you probably didn’t need it, and you did without. He had an engineer’s attitude about things long before he had the degrees to prove it. He just knew how things worked.
He entered the Army after Pearl Harbor, and became a Staff Sergeant and light tank commander. He landed in Casablanca at the end of 1942, and went across North Africa with George Patton’s Army. He was part of the invasion of Sicily, and was then sent to England in preparation for the Normandy invasion. He went into and across France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and was honorably discharged in 1945, having received a Purple Heart and four Bronze Stars. He was 80 years old before his children knew he carried a piece of shrapnel in his hand from the war.
Robert worked at Michigan State University and Purdue University, and then at Whirlpool Corp. for 25 years as an engineer in various divisions in Marion, Ohio, St. Joseph, Mich., and finished his career in Danville, Ky. While living in Michigan, he received his pilot’s license, and got great satisfaction from fulfilling a lifelong goal. In Danville, he became an avid golfer, and greatly enjoyed the time spent with friends on various local courses. A competitive nature usually overcame a suspect swing, and he had considerable success. But his favorite sport was table tennis, which he played into his 90’s, consistently beating players many years younger.
On Nov. 21, 1945, he married Jeanette Mae Wolfinger. Together, they raised a family, enjoyed their grandchildren, grew many gardens, and took multiple trips around the world to Europe, Ireland, Hawaii, Barbados and across the United States. A highlight was the 50th wedding anniversary trip they took their family on to Alaska in 1995. Bob belonged to the American Legion, the Agricultural Engineering Alumni Associations of Purdue University and Ohio State University, and the Whirlpool Retirees Group. Bob and Jeanette were committed members of Centenary United Methodist Church in Danville, Ky. They became snowbirds after both retired, and lived in Sun City Center, Fla., during the winter months, where they enjoyed spending time with their “fourth kid,” nephew John Martin. During recent months, as health issues progressed, Robert described Jeanette as his “Angel of Mercy.”
Robert was admired and respected by everyone who knew him. He taught and lived a life of independence, self-reliance, honesty, modesty, loyalty, fidelity, and one that emphasized the value of hard work and lifelong education. He lived a long, full and honorable life, and will be always remembered and loved.
The funeral service will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Stith Funeral Home with visitation beginning at noon. The American Legion Saufley Post No. 18 will present full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to Heritage Hospice, Centenary United Methodist Church or The Salvation Army.
An online guestbook is available at www.stithfuneralhome.net.