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Community says goodbye
to great motivator


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor 

  Friends and family filled the pews of McDonough Presbyterian Church last Thursday afternoon to pay their respects and bid farewell to Robbie Robinson, a well-known figure in McDonough, who passed away on June 21, 2013.

Robbie Robinson (in 2006) stands in front of the Brown House, one of McDonough’s oldest buildings. He was instrumental in protecting historic pieces of the city.                       File photo

  Born Maynard Arthur Robinson on February 24, 1939 in Warsaw, Indiana, he was raised in St. Joe, Indiana, and served in the Indiana Air National Guard and the United States Navy as a Petty Officer 2nd Class. He met his wife, Mary Louise, while stationed at NAS GLYNCO in Brunswick, Georgia. They were married in 1963 and moved to Indiana where their two children were born. They returned to Georgia in 1970 and in 1972 he formed Robbie’s Repairs in McDonough and for 12 years plied his trade as a handyman and remodeler. In 1984 he entered the petroleum industry in electrical service and in 1992 he obtained partial ownership of Petroleum Equipment Co. in Mableton, Georgia. He retired from that business in 2002 as its sole owner.

   Robinson was active in his church, McDonough Presbyterian, both as a deacon and cook for the Wednesday night suppers. He served on the McDonough Preservation Commission and was instrumental in the addition of the majority of properties in the city to the National Park Service’s Register of Historic Places. He coached boys’ baseball and girls’ softball for MYA during the 1970s and 1980s and for several years served as PTA president for the local public schools. He was also a member and a Melvin Jones Fellow of the McDonough Lions Club, Commander of Post 55 American Legion, served on the board of the Henry County High School Scholarship Foundation and was a volunteer for numerous events in the community.

   Robinson is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mary Louise, his daughter Pamela and son-in-law, Leonard Ferron of McDonough, his son, Kevin of Sacramento, California, a brother, Lynn, of Avilla, IN and four grandchildren, Leonard IV “Ivey”, Evelyn, Isaac and Claire, all of McDonough. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and dedicated his time not only to his family but the community at large by helping those in need.

   He was well known because of his involvement with charitable causes and civic organizations. According to those who knew him, Robinson was a great motivator, ready to take on any worthwhile cause. He was opinionated and candid, and was highly regarded for his knowledge on veteran affairs and civic matters and according to friends and associates, made an impact on the community that won’t soon be forgotten.

   Some remember Robinson for his candor and quick wit, while others remember him for his altruistic nature, and it seems that most remember him for his kind spirit and giving and generous ways.

   Friend and Sunday school classmate Rick Berry said he only knew Robinson for the past seven years, but that Robinson was a great motivator with a knack for getting people involved to do good works for others.

   “He influenced me more in the last seven years than anyone has in my whole life,” said Berry. “He was always selfless and gave 150 percent to everything he did.”

  Berry spoke of their community service together and said the pair enjoyed golf, but were not very good, which gave the two men the opportunity for long talks on the golf course while searching for lost balls.

  “The best way I can say it is that Robbie was a recruiter for selfless service, and he will be missed by so many,” said Berry.

  Leslie Balog, assistant to McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland, said she forged a friendship with Robinson when she began working at city hall, and cherished their long conversations on all subjects, particularly on matters of politics and spirituality. She said she is saddened by his passing but chooses to focus on the life he led.

   “It seems so crazy that he’s gone. Robbie became a fixture in my life after I came to city hall,” said Balog. “We had so many long chats over the past eight years. The last one, sometime in the autumn before his diagnosis, he spoke about being at such peace in his life. He was in a settled and calm place both politically and spiritually - our two favorite topics.”

   Diane Reed, Director of Henry County Senior Services and a fellow Lions Club member said that Robinson touched the lives of so many in Henry County.

   “He was such an active, involved, caring person. The kind you had the utmost respect for.  He was always involved with projects with the Lions’. He coordinated the review of applications for people requesting assistance with exams and glasses and touched so many lives in that role,” said Reed. “I know personally of many senior citizens he helped. He also coordinated our program for recycling eyeglasses which involved placing collection boxes throughout the county, emptying them on a regular basis, collecting them from other members and then carting them once a month or so to the Georgia Lion’s Lighthouse for distribution.”

   “He was just a phenomenal individual,” said fellow Lion, Ed Galbreath. “He did a lot in the Lions Club but one thing in particular, he made sure people in Henry County who needed glasses, got them. He was so hardworking and did everything with great enthusiasm and a great heart. They just don’t make folks like Robbie.”



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