William Edward Robinson
November 18, 1938 – October 24, 2019
William E. Robinson (Bill), 80, of Clifton, CO ran his last race on October 24, 2019. Born November 18, 1938 in Columbia, Mississippi, his childhood memories included cotton fields, goober peas (peanuts), farm animals, and living remotely from people. When he saw dust down the road, he knew they would be having company. Bill moved with his mother and brother to California when he was around 7 or 8 years old to seek a better life. Eventually he and his brother were adopted by Byrl and Virginia Robinson in Southern California. His memories of that time were working on a farm owned by Edward Everest Horton, riding horses, driving tractors, and playing Billy the Kid. In his teens he regularly and literally “ran into” such people as John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Jane Mansfield, and several LA Rams and Dodgers players. School seemed to be an inconvenience due to these distractions. Bill was an outstanding athlete excelling in football, baseball, and golf. He was on the Dodgers’ farm club for a time until he injured his arm throwing curve balls from 2nd base in a competition to see who could make it break the most. Always the competitor, Bill took all things as a challenge, which served him well in life. He was a true “self-made man”, working odd jobs as a youngster such as mowing lawns, carrying hod for brick work, and selling vacuum cleaners door to door. He did whatever it took. Bill joined the U.S. Navy in 1955 and served until 1959. During this time, he traveled the world on the USS Worcester, became an electrician, and was in charge of around 100 sailors as an 18-year-old. He learned his life trade in the Navy and most importantly met his beautiful wife, Polly England, during his last year of service in San Diego, CA. He would often say that he owed his life to the Navy. He always said, “It gave me a wife and a life.” They were married on July 11, 1959 and recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. This union produced good times, hard times, and three children; Dawn, Larry, and Dana. Little did we know the sacrifices Bill and Polly made over the years to provide for their family. Family was everything to him. He dearly wanted a firm root for his brood which was something he didn’t have growing up. Bill worked at various outfits when his children were very young including Pathe Film Lab as a Special Effect Technician. Eventually, his path crossed with a Small World; yes, the Disney kind. He was part of the design and fabrications department for such attractions as the Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted House, Small World, The Country Bear Jamboree, People Movers, and the President’s Hall which included Abraham Lincoln standing from a sitting position. He later traveled to Florida to work on Disney World, including the Epcot Center. Upon meeting Walt Disney, on one occasion, he pointed out a flaw in a circuit system. When asked to energize the system, he refused, due to this problem. Another employee hooked it up and it blew up. Walt Disney then asked Bill, “Is this what you said would happen, son?” To this Bill said yes. He said that Walt Disney wore boat shoes, khakis, and smelled of Gin. Soon he was in charge of an electrical department. An opportunity to move up in the Disney Company came with offers to run either the Florida or Anaheim office in the early 1970’s. He declined seeking a better environment for his family. Giving up everything he had worked for, he moved his family to Clifton, CO in 1972 to start a new life. The move was great for his children, but tough on him. Work was scarce and he had to travel out of town for work many times. Bill was a member of the IBEW Local 969 as well as Local 332 in CA. He worked on power plants, casinos, Costco Outlets, Apple and Hewlett-Packard offices, to name a few. He retired in 1997 and he and Polly enjoyed many years of trips to Mesquite, Laughlin, Cruises, Horse races and Dos Hombres! Bill loved spending time in his garage (The Raj) with a warm fire in the wood stove, a cold Budweiser in his hand, old country music playing on the radio, and being surrounded by family and friends. Many a stray cat found a home there as well. Countless debates, celebrations, plans, and general B.S. were discussed in his garage. Those times will be cherished and missed tremendously by those who shared them with him. Bill volunteered as an instructor for the local apprenticeship of IBEW, helped with golf tournaments, picnics, and fundraisers. He was the president of the Palisade Booster Club for a couple of years even installing improved electrical circuits and an ice machine for the athletes. He was a giver, always helping others in need, and will be tremendously missed by all who knew him. Bill could always be heard saying “Not bad for a town this size” especially when he made his famous BBQ ribs for his family! Bill leaves behind his loving family including his wife of 60 years, Polly, daughter Dawn Tooker, son Larry Robinson (Pam), and his daughter Dana Orman (Scott). He is also survived by his grandchildren Ryan (Alex) Tooker, Taylor Robinson, Caitlyn (Keenan) Harris, Bryce Orman, Logan (Josie) Robinson, Lane Orman, Austin Robinson, and Paige Orman, as well as his great grandchildren, Bryor Robinson, Oaklee Robinson, Rylee Harris, and Knox Tooker. Services will be held on November 19th at the Western Colorado Veteran’s Cemetery at 1:00pm. Arrangements provided by the Neptune Society and Martin’s Mortuary. Special thanks to the wonderful team at Hope West.
A Military Honors Service
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western CO
2830 Riverside Parkway
William Edward Robinson
November 8, 2019
I always adored my big brother Billy. He was tall and so cute. He combed his hair into a "ducktail" at the back - it was the style! And he looked just like Elvis Presley to me. Maybe that's why I always loved Elvis - still do! I remember trying to talk to him when he would bring home his friends. He probably didn't like it but I liked to be around Billy. I remember the times when he would lift me up in a big hug. He even did that when I was grown, on our first trip to the house on G Road. That was the best!
But there were days when he teased me mercilessly and I hated that. So much so that when Mom said he was going away to the Navy I said "Good!" Remember I was probably 5 years old when Bill left for the Navy. I remember us all driving him to a place where he got on a big bus to leave for induction. He waved to us from the window of the bus. When we got back in the car, I asked Mom why Bill wasn't going home with us. I didn't understand. That's when it dawned on me that he actually would not be coming home as usual and I cried and cried and cried. I missed him so much! But in reality he never did come back to live with us because he later met Polly and got married.
I remember when he brought Polly home to meet us at our new home on Marlin Place in Canoga Park. Polly took us on an adventure out into a field and wash behind our house. We found pollywogs and brought some back in a glass jar. ( Nick and I watched over the next several days as they turned into frogs.) That was so amazing. We loved Polly from the very start! And we never refer to pollywogs as tadpoles - Polly was the added special ingredient.
When I was 10 years old, Polly and Bill had their first child and I got to babysit! As each was born I was the main babysitter for them. I adored Dawn, Larry and Dana then and still do to this day! They were always loving and fun to be with.