Tribute to George L. Robbins (1916 - 2012)
Sadly, over the Christmas break, my grandfather passed away. I feel very fortunate that I was able to get to know my Grandfather. I had the chance to interact with him for 30 years. During one of my many conversations with him while in preschool, he introduced me to Goldfish crackers—they quickly became and remain my favorite snack food. Years later, while we were discussing different television programs, he introduced me to the Black Adder television series – this quickly became and remains my favorite TV show.
Naturally throughout these 30 years the specific types of conversations varied. I shared a link to a Shakespeare website that he loved using. He shared his interest in Ancient Greek and Latin, showing me computer software he used to study them. He valued education and learning and was always very supportive of my educational efforts. Most significantly, throughout this large span of time, there were key aspects of whom my grandfather was that shined through consistently.
Even after retirement, my grandfather devoted his time to work, for as long as he was able. As a young child, I was captivated by my grandfather’s home office. Taking note of this, my grandfather would show me around his office and introduce me to his various office equipment and supplies. This continued for decades. While my knowledge of office equipment grew, a much greater lesson was unfolding. I was able to see him at work, including interacting with clients. These experiences helped me to understand firsthand how he valued hard work and the importance of having a strong work ethic. He helped me to realize that regardless of what field you want to study or career you want to pursue, passion for what you are doing, genuine interest, and hard work, matter, in order to achieve success.
In the midst of this work ethic, he never forgot what was really important: family. He demonstrated time and again throughout my 30 years of knowing him that a strong work ethic does not come at the expense of devotion to one’s family. On the contrary, they go together.
My grandfather told me several stories about his time as a soldier during World War II. One story he shared was that he was stationed in Japan during the reconstruction period. Actually, he never saw combat in Japan, because while he was traveling there on a boat, Japan surrendered, ending the war. He would sometimes joke that they surrendered because they heard he was coming. He actually enjoyed his time in Japan and was very interested in Japanese culture.
It was common to find my grandfather listening to classical music when I visited him. During one of the many Christmases I was able to enjoy with my grandparents, I gave my grandfather the Onimusha original soundtrack as a Christmas gift. It’s an excellent CD composed by Mamaru Samaragouch, hailed as a “Digital-age Beethoven.”