On September 28, 2021, William “Bill” McCormick Robinson passed away peacefully at his home with his family by his side, to join his wife of nearly 70 years, Sally, who passed away on May 26, 2020.
Bill was born in Fullerton, California to William Lester Robinson and Mildred McCormick Robinson. In 1933, after Lester’s workplace burned down, and in order for Mildred to care for her ailing mother, the family moved east to work on the McCormick family farm in Crawford County, Pa. , leaving loved ones in Anaheim, California. His parents survived the hardships of the Depression Era and ended up owning a farm in New Richmond, Pennsylvania.
As an only child, Bill was no stranger to hard work, but he always found time for fun things in life like music, radio shows, sledding, barn events and always the big guys. spaces. He developed a taste for the bounty of nature, remembering the fresh persimmons and oranges in California at the age of 3 and 4; and he always harvested tons of strawberries, peaches, cherries, pears and apples (and rhubarb, which had to be cooked first, damn) wherever he lived. He even went strawberry picking when he was 91 (although he almost took up “field residency”), and he went apple picking on his 93rd birthday. Apples hand-peeled during fall football games and made into applesauce were a staple of his house and graced many church dinners throughout the year.
As he was unable to get the vaccine for his first year of school due to a health issue, he began to be homeschooled by Mildred who had once been a teacher in a one-room school. Young Bill was always a fast learner, so he read all the time. Later he read all the books in his school libraries and at 16 he read the whole encyclopedia. Throughout his life he consumed several books each week from many genres, as well as a number of natural history and science periodicals, and to the chagrin of some this literacy spread to a game. compulsive (and sometimes competitive) words. He graduated from Cambridge Springs High School.
Prior to graduating as a chemist from Grove City College, he worked in testing and quality control at Cooper Bessemer in Grove City, Pa., To supplement the limited financial aid. After graduating, he briefly trained in Pensacola, Fla. For Navy combat training, before being released due to an overabundance of military personnel in the military at the time.
A long career as a chemical and electrical engineer followed, culminating in a job for General Electric which took him around the world later in his career. He first worked as an additive test and development researcher at Kendall Refining Co., Bradford, Pennsylvania; then as a metallurgist, quality and process engineer at Morse Chain Company in Ithaca, NY; as head of product development and application support at Cowles Chemical Company, Skaneateles Falls, NY; and for nearly 35 years as a Product and Process Development Engineer for GE, Auburn, NY, where he worked with a research team pioneering new products and processes for the rapidly developing market of transistors, SCR and semiconductors for computer chips for intelligent micro-devices. D
During this period, he eventually traveled and held the position of technical director of production lines at factories in Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and Mexico. Much of his last professional year was spent working remotely as a consultant on these products at Powerex, Youngstown, PA.
Music has passed through his life, whether whistling alone or playing in instrumental or singing groups. It was in the Grove City College choir that he met Sally Chittenden Deming, brown-haired and hazel-eyed, and said he “had never looked back”. They were married in a small ceremony at his home in Elizabeth, NJ, in 1950. He learned the guitar on his own and loved folk music. Until very recently he and Sally were active singers in church choirs, and Bill has participated in many barber shop groups, musical journals, and theatrical musical performances (with a marked preference for Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas).
During their 46 years in Skaneateles, NY, he and Sally raised their four children and were largely parent figures and grandparent figures. Bill was a beloved storyteller and dramatic reader, ranging from fairy tales and poetry to Tanglewood Tales and Just So Stories. While Sally was a den mom, Bill was a Cub and then a Boy Scout leader for many years. Bill loved games too, and most school evenings after homework was done he could have been found testing them out with a game of cribbage, poker, checkers, or chess. On a snowy or rainy day, the family would benefit from a community effort on a puzzle. He’s certainly done his part by rolling his kids to and from marching band, theater and athletics workouts, music lessons and parades, in addition to seeing dozens of matches, games and performances. .
He wanted to travel and every year, after the family’s annual two-week camping trip to some of the parks on the east coast, he immediately began planning the vacation trip for the following year. In 1966, he postponed his two-week vacation to 1967 so the family could have four weeks to camp on the West Coast, including stops at many national parks across our great country, before arriving in Anaheim, in. California, to visit relatives. Then, after a day trip to Disneyland, the return included visits to Indian ruins and the Grand Canyon.
Subsequent voyages revisited the Southwest, Florida, the Smokies, and Nova Scotia. He would return to the Colorado River in 1975 for an incredible rafting trip through this canyon with his daughter Heather, chartered by his Californian cousin Kendall and piloted by Kendall’s sons. They later spent two weeks each year in a cabin in Winter Harbor.
In 2002, he and Sally decided to move to Midcoast Maine to be closer to their daughter, Heather, and her family. Although they missed many dear friends, it was a decision they never regretted. Here they have made many new friends and have never ceased to marvel at the beauty of the Midcoast region.
Bill’s strong faith and sense of respect for others were always evident in his actions. He was a man of knowledge, of discernment and of commitment, and faithful to the service of the call of Christ. He strived to make the world a better place for everyone in different ways. He and Sally were active members in the many churches they attended, and during their 46 years at The United Methodist Church in Skaneateles, NY, and 18 at the Bremen Union Church, they taught Sunday School, assisted youth groups, created newsletters; served as secretary, trustees and committee members; and has provided leadership for charities, special projects and missions. In Bremen, everyone looked forward to Bill’s gingerbread cookies, applesauce or waffles after services and special events.
Bill is survived by one daughter, Heather Elowe of Nobleboro; and three sons, Chris (and Anita), of Portland, Oregon; Mark (and Roxanne) from Black River, NY; and Dean (and Amanda) Fly Creek, NY; and “girl of the heart”, Mary Blatz and her husband Andy Tanguay, of Marcellus, NY
Nine grandchildren and their loved ones, Rowan (and Cassie Baxter) Elowe, will also survive; Nathan Elowe (and his fiancee Missy Boucher); and Cory (and Emily Tong) Elowe; Bethany Robinson and Peter Robinson; Ashley Spencer-Robinson and her partner Tyler (and her mother Melanie Spencer); Christina (and Grégoire) Scherrer; Jennifer (and Dieter) Vandenbussche; and Stuart (and Veronica) Robinson; Ian Robinson and Julia Robinson (and her fiancé Daniel), as well as Eric, Brian, Ethan and Rachel Tanguay; and also 11 great-grandchildren.
There were so many things he loved in life; he found the exit very difficult. It was evident, however, that he was also deeply missed by many good friends, family and of course his dear wife Sally, and now he is reunited with them and at peace.
A memorial service in August 2022 in Maine is planned.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bremen Union Church, 523 Waldoboro Road, Bremen, ME 04551; or to fight childhood cancer via CureSearch, PO Box 45781, Baltimore, MD 21297-5781 or 1-800-458-6223.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta. Condolences and messages for his family can be expressed by visiting stronghancock.com.