Obituary : Irv Robinson
For 35 years August up-Island meant that Irv Robinson was available for tennis. He was an expert player all his life and adapted to an old man's game in his 70s. He could place the ball where he wanted and wear out younger opponents as they chased the ball around the court.
Dr. Irving William Robinson of West Orange, N.J., and West Tisbury died peacefully, surrounded by his loving family on August 9 at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., at the age of 93. He was a distinguished pediatrician and an avid tennis player. He practiced pediatrics and child development from his home office at 835 West State St. in Trenton, N.J. For over 30 years he nurtured and supported families in the growth and development of their children.
He was born in 1915 in New York City, the son of Esther and Menashe Rabinowitz. His childhood was spent in Lakewood, N.J., with his four brothers. He graduated from Lakewood High School and attended City College of New York, receiving his Bachelor's Degree in 1937. He graduated from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia in 1941.
After an internship at Morrisania City Hospital in New York City, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. He served for four years, most of which were spent overseas during World War II as a physician in the army medical corps. He received seven battle stars, a purple heart, and a combat medical badge. He retired from the Army at the rank of Captain.
After serving a residency in New York City and an externship at the Yale Clinic of Child Development, Dr. Robinson opened his private practice of pediatrics in Trenton. He was appointed Chief of Pediatrics at Helene Fuld Hospital and served for six years. He was also a clinical affiliate at the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and past president of the Central New Jersey Pediatric Society. He served as a consultant in pediatrics to the city of Trenton as well as to the N.J. Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). In addition, he served as Director of the Busch-Livingston Health Center at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey.
Dr. Robinson was active in the Trenton community, serving as a consultant to the Florence Crittenton Home, the Mercer St. Friends Center day care program, the Jewish Community Center day care center, Planned Parenthood of Trenton, and as the chairman of the Trenton Neighborhood Health Center. He consulted with the Board of Education of Trenton in relation to Family Life Education.
He was a Board member of the Trenton Jewish Federation. He was a member of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center and consulted to the Martha's Vineyard Community Services.
He first visited the Island in 1961 vacationing with his family at the old Katama Shores Inn. For the next 20 years he and his family spent most Augusts here in rentals up-Island. When he and his wife Estelle retired in 1983, they realized a dream by buying a home in West Tisbury. They sold the large Victorian house in Trenton that housed his office and home. It was where they raised a family and was the scene of many, many large and small festive gatherings. The door had always been open and the world entered. They bought a house near Long Point and relocated the center of family gatherings to the Island.
Irving and Estelle could now spend June through the September here with children, sons-in-law, grandchildren, a long list of extended family members and an amazingly large circle of friends. All joined a network that one visitor described as full of "Love, dysfunction, humor, Jewish sensibility, love, community, whimsy, sport, intellectual pursuits, friendship, love, and creativity."
All four of his grandchildren spent long hours with him gardening, playing, reading, swimming and napping on the beach. The sea and sand were restful to him. For many years Amy Cohen welcomed all of his family to use Windy Gates as their own and they did. The grandchildren's development was measured by their ability to climb the 123 steps up and down to the beach. Three years ago when Irv was frail, the Cohens and Robinsons insisted on helping him walk down and up again and he watched the third generation body surf and play on the spectacular beach.
When his daughter Joy moved to the island year-round with her family, Ned, Elana and Gabe, Irv and Estelle spent more time here, taking pride in the Robinson-Lynch's community relationships and activities. They attended plays, pageants, classroom events, and graduations at the West Tisbury and Charter Schools as well as the High School. They supported and took pride in Ned's leadership at Community Services.
One highlight was in 1993 when he helped the grandchildren build a large lemonade stand to sell "Gabe's Cold Drinks." The stand's big moment was when six Robinsons jumped in it to sell lemonade to President Clinton and his family.
Whenever Irv was here, he never missed the Tuesday morning discussion group at Howes House or the Martha's Vineyard Chamber concerts. The Robinsons are members of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center where Irv was proud to witness Elana's torah reading and Jewish spiritual engagement.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 62 years, Estelle Richmond Robinson, and his daughters Amy Robinson of New York City, Joy Robinson-Lynch and her husband Ned Robinson-Lynch of West Tisbury and Cambridge, Eve Robinson and her husband Thomas Fraioli of Montclair, N.J. and Sandy Maliga of Los Angeles, Calif., and four grandchildren, Elana Robinson-Lynch, Gabriel Robinson-Lynch, Sophia Fraioli and Olivia Fraioli. He is survived by his brother Ephraim Robinson and leaves behind many nieces and nephews, friends, co-workers and patients who loved him dearly.
The family respectfully requests memorial contributions be offered to the following charities: Montclair Community Pre-K, Montclair, NJ; Oxfam, or Doctors Without Borders.