Mary Beem Robinson passed away peacefully on November 17, 2023, following complications from an accident. She is survived by her two sons, Peyton Robinson (Donna) and Alex Robinson; her two grandsons, Peyton and Harry Robinson; her brother Brian Beem (Patty); and her adoring nieces and nephew Cynthia Robinson Fox, Ginger Watson Griffith, Ashley Watson, Cater Robinson Carlton, Brian Beem, Jr. and Julianna Beem Eastham. She is predeceased by her husband of 48 years, Peyton Robinson; her beloved sister, Gina Watson; and her parents, VS and Martha Beem.
Mary, a proud native of Atlanta, Georgia, graduated from the Lovett School, where she displayed an early propensity for lighting up a room - by blowing up the chemistry lab. After Lovett, she attended the University of South Carolina where she became a Chi Omega. Her time in South Carolina fostered a lifelong love and appreciation for the Low Country and the Charleston area. In 1969, she married Peyton Robinson, a graduate of the University of Georgia and an avid Bulldog fan. She, too, loved the Dawgs, and was blessed to share their big win over Ole Miss with her grandson Harry only a week before her passing. Also with her was Nacho, the latest and greatest of many naughty little dogs who accompanied Mary through life.
A long-time member of First Presbyterian Church, she generously gave back including a beautiful piano in Peyton’s name. She was also a longtime, active member of the Peachtree Garden Club, following in the footsteps of her mother-in-law Ermine Robinson. She had a passion for entertaining that led her to establish a catering business with her dear friend Nell. It was the perfect business for someone with grace, impeccable taste, and an appreciation for fine food. As Mary herself would regularly say, “The Beems know how to eat!” She also had a festive and mischievous spirit and made a lifelong hobby of knowing and assessing gossip with her “Snoop Sister,” Gina. That spirit also inspired her co-founding The Mad Hatters – the best party of the year for gals who want to have fun.
What Mary lacked in physical size (she decorated her parlor with what might appear to many to be dollhouse furniture), she made up for in personality and presence. Mary packed more energy, charisma, and humor into her diminutive frame than many twice her size. She combined those traits with a unique personal style which was at once both flawless and seemingly effortless. Of course, effortless it was not -- you could count on seeing her twice a week at Tina’s to get her hair done. Unique and fabulous, though, it most certainly was. At Peyton’s funeral she wore a stunning white suit, noting “I’m not going to be some pathetic widow.” At the grocery store, she could be seen in pink Reeboks and a full-length mink coat. No matter the situation, Mary could be counted on for a great story, a celebrity sighting, or a hilarious (and often off-color) comment about men, politics, or People magazine. Criticism of Elvis was off limits. When she said, “Now listen,” we did.
Mary was also a generous, loyal, and understanding friend. She learned the many lessons of AA, which included endless understanding and forgiveness. She was particularly grateful for the friendship of Freddie Ellington, Shirley Mason, and Robyn Degnan, and their loyal and lifelong support. She was both larger than life and down-to-earth and kind. She will be sorely missed, but her presence and influence will stay with us always.
A service will be held on Wednesday, November 29 at 11 am at First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta followed by a reception at the Piedmont Driving Club. The family will also receive visitors at Patterson’s Funeral Home in Brookhaven from 6-8 pm on November, 28. In lieu of flowers, Mary was passionate about the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the St. Jude’s Addiction Center and First Presbyterian Church.