Saturday, July 11, 2009

In Memoriam: Robby Robinson

Posted by Bruce Miller
One of the real pleasures of leading the trips that Barksdale and Theatre IV take each year to theatre capitals around the world is making new friends. When we ventured as a group to London and Paris in the spring of 2006, two of the new friends Phil and I made were Robby and Kathy Robinson. The photo above and to the left shows Phil with Kathy and Robby in front of the Louvre.
With fun memories but a heavy heart, I attended Robby’s funeral services today. Robby passed away last Wednesday after a brief illness. He was 76 years young.

Robby and Kathy were proud residents of the Crossridge community, and part of the Crossridge crowd that regularly enjoys Barksdale Theatre. Robby served in the U. S. Army during the Korean Conflict, and he retired several years ago from the Richmond City Police Department after more than 31 years of service.

For much of his law enforcement career, Robby’s beat was “the Pike,” that part of Jefferson Davis Turnpike that extends south from the Lee Bridge. Growing up on the Southside myself, I was always warned that this area was among the meaner of the mean streets of South Richmond. At today’s service, several of Robby’s fellow retired officers commented on how safe this troubled terrain remained under Robby’s watch.

Robby’s favorite pastimes were travel, fishing, and rooting for the Atlanta Braves. I feel privileged to have joined him in the first of these pursuits. Throughout our London and Paris tour, Robby and Kathy were fun, involved and ready to roll—definitely one of the couples we recall with great affection. The bulletin for today’s memorial service says that Robby’s life philosophy was to “always have something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to do it with.” That’s certainly the Robby I remember. Personally, I can’t think of wiser words to live by.

Robby was your basic nice guy; there wasn’t a fancy or pretentious bone in his body. So it’s with a wink to his meat-and-potatoes spirit that we will be dedicating our upcoming production of Fully Committed at Hanover Tavern to his memory. Scott Wichmann stars in this hilarious one-man comedy about another man of simple tastes who finds himself working at the reservations desk for the most pompous and chichi restaurant in NYC. When I hear Scotty’s character talking on the phone with his meat-and-potatoes dad in the play, I’m going to think of Robby, and appreciate that this dad character makes Fully Committed a perfect show to dedicate to Robby’s warm and genuine spirit.

Robby is survived by Kathy, his wife of 19 years, his two sons and daughters-in-law, two step-children and their spouses, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was a good man. Along with many others in the Barksdale family, Phil and I will miss him and remember him fondly.

--Bruce Miller


bookworm said...

Beautiful. Thank you Bruce. Sally

Michael said...

Mr. Miller,

I just wanted to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for dedicating an upcoming production of Fully Committed to my father. My dad would have been humbled by this dedication and his quiet, unassuming, friendly and unpretentious demeanor would have made him privately question such. I can almost hear him say, “I didn’t do anything to deserve that type of recognition. What’s all the fuss?” However, as you know and stated it’s everyday people like him who quietly serve, befriend and interact with others that add richness, texture, depth and breadth to our lives. I was very fortunate and blessed to have a dad like him...many sons don’t. My eight minute eulogy of him only scratched the surface of how he impacted my life. My Marine Corps career kept us physically apart for many years, but his unbridled support of my individual goals and pursuits and encouraging words of wisdom to me and my family, will forever live in the bridges we build to others. Thank you again and I hope we get a chance to meet and chat under better circumstances in the future.

Warm regards,
Mike Robinson
5841 Yellow Jasmine Terrace
Providence Forge, VA 23140