Major William C. “Bill” Robinson, a decorated WW-II veteran, passed this life on Sunday, September 21st, at his residence in Tullahoma.
He served 27+ years with the military and was a retired assistant professor at Motlow College.
Bill Robinson was born in 1922 in Alfred, a college town in western New York state. After graduating from High School as Salutatorian, he completed two years at New York State Ag-Tech Institute, then enlisted in the Army Air Force as a flying cadet in 1942. He flew 40 combat missions as a bomber pilot during WW-II against the Japanese in the South Pacific.
Among his decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross, seven (7) Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Philippines Liberation Medal and Philippines Presidential Unit Citation while flying with the 494th Heavy Bomb Group (B-24 Liberators) and serving in the 7th Air Force, the 5th Air Force, and the 13th Air Force.
At the end of the war Bill married the love of his life, Barbie, and remained in the active reserves while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He was recalled to active duty in U.S. Air Force (USAF) as non-commissioned officer (NCO) in 1950; shortly thereafter he was reinstated as a 1st Lieutenant in non-flying status. He served for the next 14 years in the USAF Nuclear Weapons Program in various operational assignments, research and development, and at Headquarters – Air Force Logistics Command.
Major Robinson earned his Master’s degree (MBA in Engineering Management) from the USAF Institute of Technology and was assigned as Chief of the Programs Office at AEDC in Tullahoma, TN. Lastly, he served as the Commander of the USAF Eastern Test Range Tracking Station, Antigua, West Indies. He retired from the Air Force in 1969 and joined the original faculty at Motlow College where he taught for eight years as an assistant professor. Then he started a small business, “Bill’s Wood’N’Rocks”, handcrafting furniture and fine jewelry.
Bill was a follower of Jesus Christ and member of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, where he sang in the Chancel Choir for 37 years. He was also an avid singer in Barbershop Harmony, and sang for more than 10 years with the “Country Hams” barbershop quartet.
He was a life-member of the Retired Officers’ Association and the American Legion. He was a long-time member of the Board and Treasurer of the Haven of Hope, a shelter for abused spouses.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George Stephen Robinson and Lenora Grace Robinson (Howland), his sister Doris E. Colden, and by his wife, Barbara Manchester Robinson.
He is survived by five children: William Stephen Robinson (Sharon), Alan Ward Robinson (Sharon), Donna Robinson Sanders, Thomas Edward Robinson (Traci), and Judith Robinson King; 16 grandchildren: Stephen Anthony Robinson (Christine), Karen Marie Baker (Cole), Kristen Therese Goodman (Mike), Richard Michael Robinson (Sloan), Anastasia Robinson Woo, Vanessa Robinson Woo, Yancie Abbott Sanders, Elizabeth Grace Carr (TC), Timothy Andrew Robinson, Cynthia Marie Robinson, Joshua Thomas Robinson, David Matthew King, Donavon William King, Lillian Judith King, Jeffrey L. Riffe (Cynthia), and Franklin Ray Sanders, Jr.; 12 great-grandchildren; and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Tullahoma at 1:00 p.m. with Rev. Scott James officiating.
For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, a tax-deductable donation may be made in memory of Bill and Barbie Robinson to the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, P.O. Box 550, Tullahoma, TN 37388.