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Thomas Robinson

1927 - 2014 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Thomas Robinson Obituary
Cdr. Thomas William Robinson, III, USN (Retired)

August 2, 1927

August 26, 2014

Cdr. Thomas William Robinson III, a resident of Sparks, NV since 2001, died August 26th, 2014 at the age of 87.

Tom, or "Rob" as he was known throughout his professional careers, was born August 2, 1927 to Thomas (II) and Electa Robinson in Cody, Wyoming. After graduating from High School in Safford, Arizona, Tom enlisted in the United States Navy where he quickly earned a fleet appointment to the United States Naval Academy ultimately graduating in 1950 with the commission of Ensign. While at The Academy, Tom met and married his wife of 64 years, Patricia Louise Ray from Sunbury, Pennsylvania.

After serving a duty tour about the USS Newport News (CA 148) as a junior officer, Tom was assigned to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduating in 1955 with a graduate degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. He was then assigned to the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii where his engineering and ship repair career for the Navy began. Several years later he was then assigned to the U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard CVA-31as the Main Propulsion Officer completing several long cruises to the western and eastern Pacific oceans. His next assignment sent him to the USN Radiological Defense Laboratory in San Francisco in 1959 where he began his initial work for the Navy in the field of Nuclear Science. After serving a tour of duty at the Bureau of Ships (the headquarters for the US Navy at that time) in Washington D.C., Tom was then assigned to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard where he aided in the design and construction of the SSN class of Nuclear attack submarines - one of the main backbones of the United States' Cold War deterrent against Soviet invasion. He was then assigned to the Ship Repair Facility in Yokosuka, Japan where he oversaw the repair and maintenance of all U.S. Navy ships assigned to the Western Pacific participating in the Vietnam War. After completing a three year tour at the SupShip Facility in Seattle, Washington, Tom retried as a Commander from active service completing 31 years of Naval service in January 1976.

After obtaining his Professional Engineer (PE) certification, Tom then continued his engineering career with the State of Washington where he served for 10 years focusing on work place safety and accident prevention. After again "retiring", Tom opened and operated the private firm of Olympia Forensic Engineering where he investigated a variety of industrial, marine, and transportation accidents using his design and construction background to reconstruct each incident from the initial cause to the subsequent results - often identifying specific design and structural failures leading to the event. He spent many hours in the field studying large and small events, then offered his conclusions as an expert witness at various tort trials and resolution hearings.

Tom is survived by his wife Pat, his brother Lewis of San Francisco, his daughter-in law and caregiver Patty, and his four children, Thomas IV (Janine), Patricia (Nicole), Cheryl (Rad) and Todd. He is also survived by eight grandchildren; Thomas V (Tiffiny), Joseph (Elizabeth), Courtney (Paul), Jessica (Jon), John Paul (Julia), Tim, Tony, April (Mitch) and ten great-grandchildren: Emma, Thomas VI, Ryan, Adeline, Olivia, Natalia, Aaron, Katie, Dakota and Perry.

Tom loved the outdoors and was an accomplished fly-fisherman. He loved attending the Reno Air Races and visited many years staying from the first race to the last race everyday. Tom had many wonderful qualities and he was always known for his care, kindness, gentleness, and his willingness to help anyone he could at any time. He loved his family and was always proud of them. He will forever be missed.

Tom's family would like to thank the Occupational and Physical Therapists at Vista Manor Care: Peggy, Stacy, Lisa, Nicole, Melinda, Kurt, Dan, Dyanne, Rae and Mindy. We would also like to thank all of those special people who aided in his care during the final months: Anita, Henry, Shirley, and all kind CNA's from Gentiva Hospice.

Befitting his life long commitment to his country, Tom will be interred at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 14 Veterans Way, Fernley, Nevada following a brief service at the pavilion on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 1100 hours. All are welcome. A small reception will be held at Tom's home, directions available at the service.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Navy Relief at website: https://donate.nmcrs.org/page/contribute/nmcrs-donate.

"No more a Watch to stand, Old Sailor.

For you are drifting on an ebbing tide.

Eight Bells has rung. Dog Watch is done

A new Berth waits you on the other side."

Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, 2014
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