Margaret Ann Craig Robinson
Margaret Ann Craig Robinson, age 92, died quietly at home on April 4th, 2017. The daughter of Edwin Wilson Craig and Elizabeth Wade Craig, she was born Sept. 14, 1924 in Nashville, Tennessee. She was married to attorney Walter McLaren Robinson, Jr. for fifty-five years until his death on Nov. 21, 2004. She is survived by their four children: Ann Robinson Kelly (Owen), Emmie Robinson Rick (Steve), Libby Robinson Page (Ben), and Walter McLaren Robinson III, M.D.; five grandchildren: Jonathan Wade Rick (Melissa), Amanda Sinclair Kelly, Jeremy MacLaren Kelly (Beth), Neil Payne Rick, and Florence Ann Page Brown (Cooper); one great-granddaughter, Margaret Belle Rick, one great-grandson, Edwin Wells Rick; first cousin, Peggy Henry Joyce, and brother-in-law, Charles Henry Robinson. Her sister, Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor, her brother, Cornelius Abernathy Craig II, her cousin, Senator Douglas S. Henry, Jr., and her great-grandson, James Walter Rick, preceded her in death.
Margaret Ann attended Parmer Elementary School in Nashville, Ward-Belmont School in Nashville, The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Finch College in New York, New York.
Her paternal grandfather, Cornelius Abernathy Craig, was a founder of National Life and Accident Insurance Company, and her family was closely involved in the business for three generations. Under her father's leadership the company founded WSM Radio and Television and the Grand Ole Opry. Later, during her husband's tenure as chief executive officer the company launched Opryland, the Opryland Hotel, and the General Jackson excursion boat.
She is widely praised in Nashville for her years of community service, but is most particularly appreciated for her role in the development of Nashville's public library system, and her leadership in the building of the new downtown main library. Mrs. Robinson was appointed to the Metro Nashville Public Library Board in 1977 by Mayor Richard Fulton, and was named chairwoman in 1986. With the strong support of Mayor Phil Bredesen, Mrs. Robinson and Donna Nicely, the director of the Library, successfully lobbied the Metro Council for a $124 million expansion program for the library system resulting in the building of the new Main Branch and four new regional branches, as well as extensive renovations of eighteen existing branches. As the Nashville Scene stated on naming her 2001 Nashvillian of the Year, "If it weren't for Margaret Ann Robinson, Nashville wouldn't have a new downtown library." She also served on the Nashville Public Library Foundation Board from its creation until her death.
Mrs. Robinson began her volunteer work at a young age. She was active in the American Red Cross during World War II, serving as chairman of the Nashville-Davidson County Chapter of the Motor Corps. She also utilized her skill as a photographer at Nashville's Thayer Hospital for wounded soldiers to provide the young men with photos for family members anxious for "news of their boys."
She was a longtime member of the Junior League of Nashville, and received the "Sustainer of the Year" award from that organization in 2001. She was chairman of the league's annual Paper Sale Drive to benefit the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. She was on the Board of Travellers Rest Historic House Museum for many years and chaired its Country Fair fundraiser several times as well as managing promotion for the historic site. She hired its first full time director and co-chaired the campaign to build an education center on its grounds. In 1994 she was the recipient of The Garden Club of America's Zone IX Conservation Award for her work at Travellers Rest. Mrs. Robinson was also a former member of the Board of Regents at Gunston Hall Plantation in Lorton, Virginia, the home of George Mason, the author of the Virginia Bill of Rights.
In 1958, Margaret Ann and her husband Walter, along with five other couples, founded The Ensworth School. She served as the schools' first registrar and all four of her children attended the school. She continued to play a critical role in the development and expansion of Ensworth and was a longtime trustee.
In 1995, Mrs. Robinson was the Honorary Chair of Nashville's first "Boulevard Bolt" to benefit the Campus for Human Development, helping to initiate an event that has raised more than $2,060,000 to benefit the city's homeless population and has become a staple of Thanksgiving Day in the city.
Mrs. Robinson was on the Board of Directors for Grassmere Nature Center, which then evolved into the present-day Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. She was on the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens Planning Committee, which developed a master plan for expansion of the gardens and development of an education center.
Mrs. Robinson was honored with numerous awards in recognition of her many years of public service, including the 1997 "Mic Award" from WPLN-Nashville Public Radio; YWCA's 2001 "Women of Achievement" award; the Tennessee Library Association's 2001 Trustee Award; the 2001 "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Nfocus magazine, and FiftyForward's 2010 "Crowning Achievement Award."
She was a past member of the vestry at St. George's Episcopal Church, where she worshipped since 1949 after she and her husband helped establish St. George's as a mission church from Christ Church Cathedral.
The Robinson family would like to thank Randy Shewmake, Spencer Thompson, Keith Hooper, Norm Pugh, Aubrey Montgomery, Wilma Ingram, and Ruth and Roy Cunningham for their many years of kindness and devotion to their father and mother.
Active Pall Bearers are Jonathan Wade Rick, Melissa Batchelor Rick, Amanda Sinclair Kelly, Jeremy MacLaren Kelly, Beth Lauren Heaney, Neil Payne Rick, Florence Ann Page Brown, Walter Cooper Brown IV, Rev. Anna Russell Kelly Friedman, Christopher Knox Friedman, Leslie Owen Kelly, Stephen Payne Rick, Benjamin Grant Page, Jr., Mark Humphreys Kelly, Mark Humphreys Kelly, Jr., William Cheatham Weaver IV, Thomas Myatt Hooper, Robert Joseph Friedrich, Donald Francis Berschback II, and Sidney Stinson McAlister, Jr.
Honorary Pallbearers are Charles H. Robinson, Debbie Craig, Leslie Dorris Kelly, Jim Free, Phil Bredesen, Dick Hanselman, Spencer Thompson, Randy Shewmake, Keith Hooper, Norm Pugh, Aubrey Montgomery, Patsy Woods, Wilma Ingram, Ruth and Roy Cunningham, Donna Nicely, Kent Oliver, Keith Simmons, David Braemer, Phil Krebs, Preston Bain, Mary Kerr, Bill Forrester, James Gooch, Sid Pilson, Rev.Tim Taylor, Dr. William Serafin, and Dr. Vandana Abramson
Visitation will be at the Robinson home at 540 Belle Meade Boulevard from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 6. Funeral services are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 7, 2017 at St. George's Episcopal Church. She will be buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to:
Nashville Public Library Foundation
615 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37219
St. George's Episcopal Church
4715 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
Travellers Rest Historic House
636 Farrell Parkway
Nashville, TN 37220
211 Ensworth Avenue
Nashville, TN 37205
1718 Patterson St
Nashville, TN 37203
Published in Tennessean from Apr. 5 to Apr. 6, 2017.