William Gane "Bill" Robinson (1937 - 2018)

Obituary
  • "I am truly saddened. I always enjoyed our conversations..."
    - Andrew Karres
  • "We were saddened to learn of Bill's passing. We have known..."
    - Bud and Louise Gardner
  • "We will truly miss Bill. I always enjoyed conversations..."
    - Sherry Simpson
  • "My parents, Lindy and Enid Stevens, were tennis buddies..."
    - Kitty Stevens
  • "It can be so hard to face the first year without your loved..."
    - Psalm 46:1 J Jones

William Gane "Bill" Robinson, 81, born on July 1, 1937, died peacefully on November 25, 2018 while surrounded by his beloved and caring wife, Annette, and family.

Bill was born a native Charlottean to parents Dr. Charles W. and Mildred Robinson. The Robinson family settled in Mecklenburg County prior to the Revolutionary War. As a child, he attended Dilworth, A.G. and Central High and was raised at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Bill matriculated to NC State where he majored in engineering and joined the PKA fraternity where he made life-long friends. After college, Bill left North Carolina and moved to California. With a slide rule in hand, Bill helped Douglas Aircraft design the Nike Hercules missile and performed wind tunnel testing on its rockets. After leaving Douglas, Bill joined a brokerage firm. Soon thereafter, like most of his generation, he left to join the military.

Bill drove tanks in the Mojave Desert and his unit prepared to battle the Soviets during the Berlin Crisis but, luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and the country avoided conflict.

Following military service, Bill attended the UNC Chapel Hill Law School. He married Theo Robinson while a law student and upon passing the bar; his oldest son, Shel, was born.

After beginning private practice in Charlotte, Bill and Theo welcomed another son, Randy.

Bill was one of the last of the general practice attorneys, but he primarily served as a trial lawyer. He tried murder, felony and divorce cases, drew wills and corporate documents, and counseled countless clients who often leaned on him during the most difficult times of their lives.

In 1972 Bill ran for District Court Judge and became the first elected Republican Judge in Mecklenburg County since Reconstruction. Judge Robinson presided over juvenile court and domestic court in addition to high-profile and newsworthy cases. He recognized the needs of families and children in those arenas. During that process, helped found The Relatives, a non-profit transition home for teenagers. He personally housed juveniles from the court system with his own family and he helped to implement standard child-support guidelines to minimize legal costs and family angst during the divorce process. Those guidelines were soon implemented in most of North Carolina's 100 counties.

Bill returned to private practice and while practicing law, he founded Robinson Realty and began to acquire real estate in Mecklenburg County and the South Carolina shore. Bill retired from the legal world in 1996 but continued to work at Robinson Realty where he worked with Ron and Rebecca Carriker. Bill was equally adept at painting and mowing his properties' lawns as he was with reading a financial statement.

Along the way, Bill found time to live life as he chose. As a Judge, he raced motocross against 18-year old boys. Bill's family is willing to bet he was the only Judge to show up for Court wearing a cast after crashing his dirt bike after jumping a creek in his weekly motocross races. He sailed the Abacos and Caribbean on a catamaran, wind-surfed, and skin dived for lobster and grouper.

At home, Bill became a runner and a tennis player during the running and tennis booms of the 1970s. He loved tennis with friends at Olde Providence, where he served on the Board. He played state seniors tournaments, won a super-senior state championship and played five days a week at midday, regardless of the 95-degree sun or the freeze of winter.

Bill loved being with his grandchildren. He watched countless soccer, tennis and sports matches, including nine years of matches at Myers Park High, and he played tennis, swam and went to the beach with all of them. He drove them in his white, convertible Cadillac with the top down. Perhaps most importantly, he was content to lead a life that they could emulate, while providing quiet advice and companionship without ever criticizing or judging. Bill always gave and never took. He was the person that helped you move, that rolled out his neighbors' trash, and that handed out a present and never wanted one in return. He truly loved his family and his friends.

Bill was predeceased by his parents and his second wife, Katherine "Kate" Robinson.

Annette and Bill married in 2006. They shared wonderful times together travelling and spending time together and with family and friends. In addition to Annette, Bill is survived by his children, Shel Robinson and his wife, Stacy, and Randy Robinson and his wife, Dr. Wanda Robinson, all of Charlotte; and Shel and Randy's respective children, Shel, Jr., Braxton, Charlie and Abigail. He is also survived by Annette's son, Mason Evans, and his daughters, Molly and Caroline. Bill is survived by his sister, Louise Singleton and her husband Dr. John Singleton; brother, Dr. Charles W. and wife, Cynthia Robinson, his youngest brother, Rev. Stephen Robinson and wife, Virginia, and their families. Bill is further survived by Kate's children, Ron Carriker and wife, Rebecca, and Trilby Carriker, as well as Ron and Rebecca's children, Trent and Kipp.

Annette and Bill were proud and faithful members of Myers Park United Methodist Church where they have enjoyed the Wesley Sunday School class and Bill has served as a lay reader and usher.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at Myers Park United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends in Jubilee Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers please remember the Music Program at Myers Park Methodist Church, or the Levine Cancer Center and, most importantly, to love and care for your family and neighbors as Bill did.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com

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Published in Charlotte Observer on Nov. 29, 2018