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Ivan N. Robinson

1930 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
Ivan N. Robinson Obituary

Ivan N. Robinson, 84, of Tolland, a former newspaper reporter and editor who for many years handled public information for the University of Connecticut Health Center, died Monday, August 4, 2014 at Rockville General Hospital. He was the widower of Joyce Tate Robinson, who died in 2006. Ivan (baptized Yvon) was born March 11, 1930, in Granby, Que., son of Alcide Joseph and Rosa Dutilly Robinson, and grew up in Groton. He was a graduate of the University of Connecticut and held a master's degree in English from Trinity College in Hartford. Ivan began his interest in journalism at the age of 11, when he and a friend put out a one page neighborhood flyer. He was further encouraged by winning top state awards and a national first prize as feature editor and columnist on the student newspaper at Fitch High School in Groton. In his first two years at UConn, spent at the old Fort Trumbull branch in New London, he was an editor on the campus newspaper and humor magazine. Drafted into the Army in 1951, he served in Korea and Japan, ending up as editor of the 24th Infantry Division's weekly newspaper in Sendai. Upon discharge, he returned to UConn to complete his education. There he became managing editor of the campus newspaper and met his future wife, a reporter on the staff. After leaving UConn in early 1955, he went to work for The Day in New London as a reporter. Ivan and Joyce were married Sept. 3, 1955, and had lived in Tolland since 1962, after he joined the former Hartford Times. He started with the Times as bureau chief in Norwich and Rockville and went on to working in Hartford, writing features, covering the legislature and specializing in medical and science writing. He played a key role in launching the Times' Sunday edition and became editor of its Sunday magazine. He was a contributor to the Gannett Newspapers series, "Road to Integration," that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 in the community service category. He won numerous other prizes for his reporting and writing, including a first prize two years in a row from the National Safety Council for the best safety writing in the United States. He also was recognized by the International College of Dentists, the New England Hospital Association, and the Connecticut Medical Society. In 1969, he joined the UConn Health Center as a medical writer. When he retired in 1992, he was assistant director of public information, handling media relations, producing internal publications and serving as spokesman for the medical and dental schools and John Dempsey Hospital. While with the Health Center, he taught journalism part-time at the University of Hartford and Central Connecticut State University. Ivan was also a cartoonist, do it-yourselfer and genealogist. He moonlighted as the editorial cartoonist of the former Rockville Journal from 1962 to 1968 and sold gag cartoons to national publications. As a do-it yourselfer, his biggest accomplishment, with the significant help of his wife, was designing and actually building their passive solar house in Tolland. He was a member of the French Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut and was its president from 1998 to 2001. He was a member of the board of directors of the Tolland Historical Society and produced its newsletter for many years. During his career, he was active in the Society of Professional Journalists, Take 2 (alumni of the UConn student newspaper staff), Laurel Club (organization of Connecticut legislative reporters), American Medical Writers Association, Connecticut Hospital Association's conference of hospital public relations directors and the New England Hospital Public Relations Association. He is survived by two brothers and their wives, Guy B. and Rita Robinson of Vancleave, Miss., and Peter R. and Dianne Robinson of Sterling, Mass., and many nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are welcome to join the family from 2:00-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at the Tolland Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Merrow Rd. (Rte. 195) Tolland, CT 06084. A celebration of his life will follow at 3:00 PM at the Tolland Memorial Funeral Home. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. For online condolences please visit: www.pietrasfuneralhome.com

Published in The Hartford Courant on Aug. 9, 2014
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