ROBINS, Lora McGlasson, 98, died peacefully at her home on Sunday morning, August 22, 2010, after a life as fulfilling and productive as anyone could wish. She was born June 24, 1912, in Waco, Texas, the third of five children of John and Lora McGlasson. In addition to her father's legal practice in Waco, the McGlassons maintained a small farm, and early on their daughter learned how to milk the cow and harvest a chicken for Sunday dinner. She graduated from Waco High School and received a B.A. from Baylor University in 1932 and afterwards taught school for a year. She then went to work in her father's law office, where she subsequently met her husband-to-be, E. Claiborne Robins, who was traveling the country introducing physicians to the pharmaceutical products of the fledgling A. H. Robins Company. Following her marriage on her 26th birthday in 1938, she accompanied Claiborne throughout the southwestern United States in his Model A Ford, as he continued his sales calls on physicians. Her pioneer spirit made her an ideal companion, as she quickly learned to set up housekeeping in every available lodging, doing laundry in the bathtub and baking pies nightly to fatten up her young 6'2", 152 lb. husband. Following their return to Richmond, she set to work as a loyal helpmate to build the company into the multi-national entity it was to become. From the beginning, and later as the A. H. Robins company grew to over 6,000 employees, four times a year at their Richmond home, she hosted large dinners for each new group of sales representatives, always preparing the meals herself. Lora indeed played a major role in creating the "family feeling" that the pharmaceutical company became widely known for. From time to time, they shut down the company to take all the employees on trips to N.Y.C., Washington D.C., Miami and Havana, Cuba. In the 1960s, with their love of Big Band music, she and Claiborne were able to bring the Glenn Miller Band and the following year Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey to Richmond to perform for the Robins Company employees. With Claiborne working long hours to build the company, she bore most of the responsibility to raise their three children. Over the years she instilled in each of them her resourceful and adventurous nature and her can-do willingness to tackle almost any task, from re-wiring lamps to transforming under-funded non-profits. She loved to cook, and derived great pleasure from always having beautiful and extensive landscaping, and her appreciation of the natural world always kept her eager to learn more about her surroundings. Her involvement with, and support of, local non-profits and individuals gave her great pleasure throughout her life. To the end, she always remembered to extend a hand to those who were less fortunate, with countless instances of her "quiet philanthropy" where she wasn't seeking recognition, but was just trying to help someone in need. In later life she became a discerning connoisseur of fine art, assembling impressive collections of unusual gems, shells and minerals, Old Masters paintings, fine examples of 18th century American furniture, Hester Bateman silver, and Boehm Birds, all of which she then donated to a number of Richmond area museums. This personal philanthropy, both before and following Claiborne's death in 1995,
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Published in Richmond Times-Dispatch from August 24 to August 26, 2010