ROBBINS Jr., Joe Franklin|
Joe Franklin Robbins Jr. died Nov. 3 in the Gracy Woods Nursing Center in Austin at the age of 79. Robbins had a long career as a radio and television broadcaster, served one term in the Texas House of Representatives and was a state employee for several years before retiring at age 62.
Born Oct. 2, 1934, in Fort Worth, Robbins was the first son of Joe Robbins and Louise Augusta "Ducky" Boswell Robbins. He grew up in Fort Worth, graduating from North Side High in 1953 and later earning a bachelor's degree at Texas Christian University. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves from 1955 to 1959.
For most of his career, Robbins worked as a broadcast journalist at radio or television stations in Fort Worth, Lubbock and Austin, among others. He also taught briefly at Texas Tech University, where he was a sponsor of the campus radio station. Robbins was an artist and always talked about setting up his easel and painting in his retirement years.
But his real passion was for politics. He worked as a volunteer for a number of campaigns over the years, including campaigns of the late John Tower, the first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas since Reconstruction. Being a volunteer for other GOP candidates was not enough for Robbins. In 1976, he campaigned for and won a seat in the Texas House, becoming the first Republican elected to office in a partisan election in Lubbock County.
Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Mary Alice of Austin; his brother, Jon Ed Robbins of Lakeside; two sons, Kirk Robbins and Jeffrey Robbins, both of Austin; three step-daughters, Anne Nabors of Austin, Karen Diers of Arcata, Calif., and Rebecca Diers of Los Angeles; granddaughter, Kristine Robbins-Bizzelle of Cibolo; and grandson, Marcus Robbins of Dripping Springs. He also is survived by a daughter, Angela Klingler of New Hampshire and her daughters, Melody, Ashley and Sara.
Graveside services are set for noon Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota St., Austin.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Nov. 5 to Nov. 6, 2013