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Carolyn Robinson (1927 - 2014)

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Carolyn S. Robinson

Salisbury-Carolyn Katherine Smith Robinson of Salisbury died Feb. 26 at Coastal Hospice at The Lake from complications brought on by renal failure. She was 86.

Born Aug. 12, 1927, raised and educated in Jersey City, N.J., she was the daughter of the late Marie Margaret Elizabeth (Busking) and Henry Philip Smith.

Preceding her in death were William Robinson Jr., her husband of 55 years, who died April 23, 2007; Paul Jeffrey Robinson, her second son, who died Nov. 8, 1969 from a congenital heart defect; and 1st Lt. Owen Harry Smith, a half-brother who died July 18, 1946 flying a mission in Central America for the U.S. Army Air Corps.

After graduation from Snyder High School, she went to work in New York as a messenger girl with Standard-Vacuum Oil Co., a foreign subsidiary of the company known today as ExxonMobil Corp. During seven years working at 26 Broadway, she rose through the ranks to become an executive secretary.

She was a life-long fan of Francis Albert Sinatra, an entertainer of some renown from nearby Hoboken, N.J.

Like many of her generation, World War II shaped her life. Her father and future father-in-law were acquaintances who encouraged their children to exchange letters while William Robinson Jr. served overseas.

The couple met after his 1946 discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard. They married April 12, 1952 and moved from New Jersey to Harrisonburg, Va., where she found work as a loan company teller.

A job transfer in 1953 brought the couple to Salisbury for the first time, where they resided for two years and she worked for the Wayne Pump Co. They also lived in Springfield, Mass. and Gainesville, Ga. before returning to Salisbury in 1961.

An adventurous cook who could make from scratch blueberry muffins, pizza and traditional German fare, she enjoyed preparing dishes inspired by Delmarva Poultry Festival recipes. Cheese-fried chicken was a family favorite.

Later in life, TV cooking shows on the Food Network and PBS were a favorite diversion.

When her sons entered public school, she worked at the Fashion Shop in downtown Salisbury. She also drove a school bus along the Old Ocean City Road route in Wi-Hi's attendance zone.

Many Salisburians knew Carolyn as a secretary at James M. Bennett High School. When she retired in 1992 after a 23-year career, she was humbled by a send-off organized by co-workers, who showered her with praise and gifts she cherished.

In retirement, former students frequently greeted her in public. She could usually recall if well-wishers spent time on the discipline bench she monitored for the principal.

She attended Salisbury's Asbury United Methodist Church and occasionally volunteered at its Opportunity Shop. She also was a volunteer at Peninsula Regional Medical Center's front desk. Doing needlepoint and working crossword puzzles were among her favorite pastimes.

Surviving her are: eldest son William III and his wife, Jane (Langrall); youngest son Thomas Owen and his wife, Jennifer (Gordon), four grandchildren; Joshua Paul, Hannah Elizabeth, Paige Verginia and Zachary Doughty, all of Salisbury; and two step-grandchildren, Emily J. Balea-Hopkins, also of Salisbury, and Jordan Robinson of Norton, Ohio.

A memorial service will be held at 11AM Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Bounds Funeral Home on East Main Street in Salisbury. A private burial is planned.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages tribute gifts in her name be sent to Johns Hopkins Children's Center, c/o Development Office, 750 E. Pratt St. - Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202; or Coastal Hospice, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury, MD 21802-1733.

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Published in The Daily Times on Feb. 27, 2014
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