On July 30, 2020, Lewis Herbert "Lew" Robinson, formerly of Ann Arbor and then Marshall, Michigan, passed away at Calhoun County Medical Care Facility in Battle Creek. He was blessed to have celebrated his 97th birthday earlier in the month but died of natural causes following a brief illness.
Lew was born in Pontiac, Michigan on July 18, 1923 to Ernest and Mabel (Merkson) Robinson. His father was a dairy farmer at the time, so Lew spent his first few years on a farm in Orchard Hills, Michigan. After his father lost his trucking business in The Depression, Lew and his sister, Ernestine, moved with their parents into the family home in Plymouth, Michigan. This is where he was raised, graduating from Plymouth High School in 1941.
Following graduation, Lew worked at the Daisy Air Rifle Company in Plymouth before going to Ford Motor Company. It was while he was working at Ford's that he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the fall of 1942 to support our country in World War II. He joined the USMC 46th Platoon then stationed in San Diego, California in December of that year, eventually training in aerial gunnery school for the Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bombers. Lew had enjoyed hunting rabbits, pheasants, and deer his whole life, so he had no trouble achieving the designation of "Expert Rifleman" in the Marines as a Private First Class. He served in the Pacific Theater on Oahu, Johnson Island, Bougainville Island and Guadalcanal, primarily working in the bomber squadron as a mechanic. He was honorably discharged from the Marines at the end of the War in November of 1945.
Upon returning to the States, he rejoined the family in Plymouth and worked again at Ford's. An opportunity to work at the Plymouth Post Office as a rural route mail carrier became available, and he joined the Post Office in 1946. He met Emma Jean Packer while having a night out on the town with friends, and was smitten with her. They were married on July 29, 1950 in Dexter, Michigan.
In 1951 with a baby on the way, Lew and Jean moved to the Ann Arbor area and eventually purchased a home in the Village of Dixboro. Their daughter, Dianne, was born in 1951, with their son, Don, coming along in 1953. The family became members of Dixboro Methodist Church when the kids were young. As his son was growing up and joining in youth sports and other activities, Lew became a coach for Dixboro's Little League Baseball Team and helped with the activities of Boy Scout Troop #30 in Dixboro. Lew enjoyed hunting his entire life, and his beagles were favorite pets. He was a loving husband and father and took great care to provide for his family through his years working at the Post Office. Mid-way through his career, he was honored by the City of Plymouth when he was able to rescue an elderly woman from her burning home while on his mail route. He truly enjoyed his work at the Post Office and retired in 1984 after 38 years of service.
Retirement took Lew and Jean to the Colonnades in Lakeland, Florida where he enjoyed life in this retirement community, making many new friends. He was the "Bingo King," calling Bingo at their weekly games, and helped to organize their community's yearly fundraiser, the Strawberry Shortcake Festival. Lew and Jean enjoyed music and dancing throughout their years together, and had many opportunities at The Colonnades to "cut a rug" at dance parties. Lew was an ardent fan of the Detroit Tigers, and while living in Lakeland he was able to cheer on his favorite team during Spring Training season every year. He would recall with enthusiasm all of their big wins and star players, especially the World Series wins in 1968 and 1984. He never missed watching them play on television, always hoping for another Tigers American League Pennant.
Lew and Jean moved back to Marshall in 1997 to be closer to their family, purchasing a condo in Brewer Farms. Lew never met a stranger, so he had no trouble becoming a part of the life of Marshall, a city that he came to love and call home. He joined the First Presbyterian Church and very much enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie of the congregation. He was also a member of the Marshall Moose Lodge and the VFW Post #4073, being honored with becoming their Veteran of the Year in 2015. In October of 2014, he was accompanied by his wonderful friend, Jack Robinson, on a Talon's Out Honor Flight to Washington, DC. It was one of the highlights of his later life. Playing cards every week with friends was something he looked forward to and was an occasion not to be missed. He enjoyed many activities around town, always looking for ways to be "out and about." His friends were many, and he valued each and every one of them.
Lew's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were the pride of his life. Although the grandkids lived in Iowa and Virginia, he was able to enjoy them when they were able to come to Marshall to visit. Their phone calls, cards, letters, and artwork were a special joy to him.
Sadly, Lew was preceded in death by his wife, Jean, in 2004. But, another lovely woman and great friend, Eleanor Smith, came into his life. Lew enjoyed a few years with Eleanor until she, too, passed away.
Lew is survived by his daughter Dianne (Don) Backus of Battle Creek; his son Don (Lola) Robinson of Bettendorf, Iowa; Grandchildren Joel Robinson of Bettendorf, Iowa; Aaron (Jessica) Robinson of Weyers Cave, Virginia; Sarah (Christopher) Largent of Muscatine, Iowa; and great-grandchildren Andrew and Isaac Robinson of Weyers Cave, VA and Claire, Chloe, Carter, and Christopher Jr. (Hudson) Largent of Muscatine, IA. He was preceded in death by his parents (his mother, Mabel, lived to be 102!), his sister, Ernestine Cooper and her husband, Gerald of Belleville, Michigan, his wife, Jean, and special friend, Eleanor Smith of Marshall. He was also preceded in death by his dear nephew, Jim Cooper, of Plymouth. He was most grateful for his loyal friends, Bonnie Kurtz of Marshall, Jack Robinson of Marshall, and Dick and Betty Carr of Battle Creek. Many nieces and nephews on Jean's side of the family also survive, as does Jim Cooper's wife, Sharon, and their daughters, Lainie and Colleen.
Lew spent the last year and a half of his life at Calhoun County Medical Care Facility in the loving care of the nurses and aids who watched over him all day, every day. He enjoyed sharing jokes with the staff and his fellow residents, and his family is grateful for everything they did to make his time there happy, comfortable, and purposeful.
A gathering of Lew's immediate family to celebrate his life will be held at a later date, to be officiated by Pastor Penny Pitts of First Presbyterian Church. Interment will be at Oakridge Cemetery following the memorial service. Anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution in Lew's name may do so by writing to the First Presbyterian Church of Marshall, 200 West Mansion Street, Marshall, MI 49068. Arrangements will be managed by the Kempf Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 723 US Hwy 27 N, Marshall, MI 49068. Please visit https://www.kempffuneralhome.com
to view the on line obituary, sign the guest book or leave messages for the family. For assistance with memorials you may go to the funeral home web site, call 269-781-9858, or and the Kempf Staff will gladly assist you.