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Dr. Charles A. Robbins Jr.

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ROBBINS, Dr. Charles A., Jr., M.D. Dr. Charles A. "Doc" Robbins, Jr., M.D., 85, of Saybrook Road, died at his home after a brief illness on Thursday, (August 10, 2006). He would have been 86 years old next month. He was born in Manchester, the son of the late Charles A. and Mabel (Barrett) Robbins, Sr. He later moved to Middletown in 1954. Prior to his retirement he was employed as a psychiatrist for 37 years with Connecticut Valley Hospital. He is a graduate of University of Connecticut (1942) where he was a distance runner, and New York Medical College (1951). A veteran of World War II he served with the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946. After his retirement in 1991 he published a history of the Connecticut State Hospital, "From the Inside Out". A nationally recognized runner, Charley won eleven national long distance championships and finished third in the 1944 Boston Marathon. In 1948 he was selected as an alternate for the US Olympic team. For sixty years he continued to pursue his passion for running, chronicled in his book "Running with the Best", and was instrumental in reviving the now famous Manchester Turkey Day Race in 1945, which he won that year. Earl Yost, a Manchester sportswriter, has written that in 1945 Charley was considered the best distance runner in the United States. He missed running in Manchester only once in 1951 while interning in Cleveland, OH. He raced Manchester fifty consecutive times and finished in the top ten runners ten times. He was honored by the race organizers who pinned the number "1" to his jersey. Charley became nearly as famous for running barefoot as he was for his running accomplishments and was recently inducted into the "Runningbarefoot.org" Hall of Fame. His final race was the 2001 Manchester Turkey Day race when he was 81. He is survived by two daughters, Chris Robbins of Acworth, NH and Barrett Robbins-Pianka and her husband Martin of Middletown; a brother, William Wesley Robbins of Bolton; three grandchildren, Orson, Ethan, and Adam Robbins-Pianka, as well a numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be announced at a later date. Memorial contributions may be sent to an organization of donor's choice.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Aug. 12, 2006
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