Jan 8, 2012

Jack Robinson - A Tribute

Abigail and Dolley readers my Dad, Jack Robinson went to be with the Lord on Friday, January 6, 2012.  He leaves behind a powerful legacy and he was an exemplary man who deserves a tribute.  I figured in the trillions of pieces of data on the internet, such a fine man deserves a few, so I will endeavor to do him justice.  For the purpose of this blog, I will not attempt to write a biography but instead I'd like to pay tribute to his life from a daughter's perspective.

Jack Robinson and Family
Dad was one of those rare men who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ without speaking a word, he lived it.  The Holy Spirit resided quietly behind his kind brown eyes.  He was a church going man but was never "religious".  He dragged me out of bed every Sunday for the entire 18 years I lived under his roof and believe me I complained almost every Sunday.  He never wavered.  His favorite Scripture was Rev 3:20 - Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  He realized that salvation was each individual's choice and he loved the below picture and would always point out that Jesus did not have a door knob on his side of the door.

He was honest and demonstrated it to me one Christmas when a store clerk gave him too much change.  Times were lean that winter and he loaded me back up in the van and drove back to the crowded mall to return the extra cash.  I groused about going back and told him he should just keep the money since it had not been his fault.  He shrugged and said, "That would be stealing.  How is it different than if I would have gone in and taken it from the register?"  Several months ago, I was faced with the same situation and after an internal struggle handed the extra money back to the surprised cashier who commented on my honesty.  I just smiled and said, "I was raised that way."

Jack Robinson was a smart guy and well respected in the field of mechanical engineering.  His name is on several pattens and a report he did was presented before Congress but you would never know it by talking to him.  He was quite humble and always praised others intelligence while never bragging on himself.  My 10 year old son commented the other day that his Grandpa Jack had known how to do all kinds of stuff but he never bragged.  That is indeed some of the highest praise a boy can give a man.

When I was 12, my Sunday School Class needed a teacher so I volunteered him.  He taught for most of the next 31 years.  Dad opened the Bible to dozens of students, young and old, who gained an understanding and appreciation for God's Word in ways that they never would have without him.  He took his role as a teacher seriously and would make time during the week to prepare and plan his lesson for the following Sunday.  One of his concerns after his heart attack was that somebody needed to take care of his class.  He was especially intrigued and interested in eschatology and my husband and I both share a wonderful memory of the day he came over with his charts and bible verses and explained the sequence of events in End Times Prophecy.
Dad and me with his Mom and Dad

We shared a love of science and the study of God's world.  We could talk for hours about the proofs for a young Earth and a Creator.  While he was in the hospital, we spoke of the marvels of the human body and its intricacies. We were blessed with several hours to just sit and talk, we enjoyed each other.  I know there will be many times over the course of the rest of my life that I will wish my Dad was around to talk about some interesting fact or another.

The Original Captain Jack
Dad was great with kids, his own of course, but also with our friends.  When I was really young, the neighborhood children would hear the rumble of his Dark Green GTO coming down the street and greet him with cries for him to play "Monster".  He'd laugh, his brown eyes sparkling, and give the kids what they were clamoring for by sticking out his long pointed tongue, dragging a leg behind him with arms flalling, all the while growling, "I'm gonna get you kids... Raaaahhhhh!"  Screams of delight mixed with a touch of childish fear filled the neighborhood as the children ran for cover.  The kids loved him.  There was one boy, who had lost his Father in Vietnam, that would come over and ask if "Jack could come out and play?"

Dad was rough and tumble with his girls.  My earliest memory of him is playing, running from him.  If he caught you, you knew you were getting tickled and he was a great tickler.  He wasn't too rough and he didn't hurt you when he tickled you.  I guess he had a lot of practice on his two younger siblings and his four daughters.  He called it "The Claw" and depending on where he was tickling you it changed names, my particular spot was the "Knee Claw".  It would send me into near apoplectic fits of laughter.  He had a weakness though, if you could get to his feet he'd throw all us kids off and run away.  He was so very ticklish on the bottom of his feet.

He was quite gracious and would never mean to hurt your feelings.  He'd praise the worst drawing or eat the worlds most horrible pancakes with a smile.  Jack Robinson took the words, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" to heart and you rarely would hear him speak ill of someone else.  He never engaged in gossip and did not want any part of folks who did.
Daddy's Girl

Dad was a handsome man and the first love of all us girls.  I remember being quite devastated to learn that I would not be allowed to marry him when I grew up.  We adored him and I believe it could be said that we were all "Daddy's Girls".  Many a boy tried but few ever managed to live up to our Dad's example.  He became the model for Manhood but also the living example of our loving Father in Heaven.  I relate to God the Father in a way that would not be possible had my Dad not demonstrated his strong, protective, and fearful love to me. 

He put his family first, always.  He drove older cars so he could afford Christian Schools for us girls.  He faithfully made generous child support payments for many years.  In spite of a divorce, he never abdicated his role as Father in our lives.  He left a job of many years to avoid going overseas.  He demoted himself when he realized the job he had grown into was going to take too much time away from his family.  Engineering changed over the years and he commuted long distances and worked long hours when he had to do so.  He wasn't happy about it but he was a man of honor and he did what he had to do to provide for his family.

God gave Dad four girls and he raised us to be "tough".  We were all athletic, we all played and excelled at sports and he was always there to watch and to teach.  He had a great jump shot and I do not know if I ever won a game of Horse or Cat with him, I don't know if anyone ever did.  He taught me to play softball and must have thrown the softball to me and with me several thousand hours.  He did the same for all of us girls and in later years he got to with my son.

In Canada with his Grandson
One of the greatest honors of my life was to share my precious son with him.  He was Grandpa Jack's boy and quite proud of it.  They got to fish, sharpen knives, build bird houses, and drive the tractor.  They hiked to the Indian Rock and flew through the air on the zip line, then they'd pile up in the man cave upstairs and laugh at the Three Stooges.  There was always a swagger in my son's steps after he spent a few hours with my Dad, he would come home with a confidence and a reassurance of his manhood.  I regret that they will have no more time, but I praise God for the time they had together.  I think all who knew him and loved him are feeling that way.

As he passed away, I was overwhelmed with peace and comfort that he was not dead but alive in Christ.  The blessed assurance of salvation and the peace that surpasses all understanding has sustained me through these difficult days.  I know that he lives in all of us who he loved and loved him back.  His wit, his humor, his intelligence, his faith, and his spirit survive in us.  I will endeavor to do my part in living up to that legacy and honor his memory with my life.
Jack Randall Robinson
  May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.