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J. Jeffrey Robison

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J. Jeffrey Robison Obituary
J. Jeffrey Robison

J. Jeffrey Robison of Tallahassee, Florida passed away peacefully at home at the side of his beloved wife, Nancy Stepina-Robison, on July 4, 2014.

Born December 12, 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Richard C. and Patricia Z. Robison, Jeff was extremely dedicated to his family, his career in higher education, and professional and personal philanthropy.

As the second oldest of six children, Jeff showed dedication to hard work at an early age, paying his own tuition Saint Edward's High School in Lakewood, Ohio so that he could pursue another great passion there - playing football. After graduating high school, Jeff was accepted to Ohio University in Athens, where he joined the ROTC to pay for school and walked on to the university's football team. Jeff earned a starting position his sophomore year and, ultimately, a full athletic scholarship. A proud member of the undefeated 1968 MAC Championship team, Jeff earned an NCAA All American Honorable Mention before graduating in 1969. Jeff went on to earn a masters degree from Ohio University in 1971 while simultaneously coaching the team that he loved.

Beginning his career in university fundraising in 1971 at Marshall University, Jeff thereafter moved on to Ohio State University where he worked in several capacities, including Director of Annual Giving. From there, Jeff accepted a position with the University of Florida as Associate Director of University Development. After eight years of soliciting major donations for the University of Florida, Jeff returned to his Alma Mater, Ohio University, as Associate Vice President for Development, where he oversaw the implementation of the University's first major fundraising campaign - raising $132 million in a $100 million campaign. In 1994, Jeff accepted the position of President of the Florida State University Foundation, where during his 11-year tenure he implemented and executed a $630 million fundraising campaign. Before retiring in 2012, Jeff worked as a primary academic fundraiser at several universities, including Case Western Reserve University and St. Thomas University. Over a four decade long career in academic fundraising, Jeff raised more than $1.7 billion for higher education.

Upon retiring, Jeff worked as a consultant and began devoting substantial time to volunteer work for the Miami Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem program. A lifelong devoted Catholic, Jeff also volunteered as a Eucharistic Minister in local hospitals for those too sick to attend church services. An avid boater, Jeff spent many happy days on the water with family and friends. He also enjoyed volunteering his time at Miami's Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Jeff is survived by his loving wife of 14 years, Nancy Stepina-Robison, and children Rebecca Robison-Miller of Athens Ohio, spouse Gavin Miller and granddaughters Abigail and Zoe; Matthew Robison of Chicago, Illinois, partner Samantha Liskow, and grandchildren Cecelia and Sidney; Katie Brokesh of Cincinnati, Ohio, spouse David Brokesh, and grandchildren Andrew Jeffrey (A.J.) and Zachary; Gregory Stepina of Boston, Massachusetts and Patrick Stepina of Atlanta, Georgia. Also surviving is older brother Chuck and younger siblings Chris, Peter, Matthew, and Beth Robison and their families, all of Cleveland, Ohio as well as countless nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and cherished friends.

A memorial mass will be held at Blessed Sacrament church on July 8 at 11 a.m., 624 Miccosukee Road, Tallahassee with a reception celebrating Jeff's life following. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Dick and Pat Robison scholarship fund, care of the Ohio University Foundation (P.O. Box 869, Athens, OH 45701) or the Robison Family Foundation, care of the Florida State University Foundation (2010 Levy Ave., Suite 300, Tallahassee, FL 32310).


Published in Tallahassee Democrat on July 6, 2014
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