George Sydnor ROBINSON Jr.
July 20, 1939 – October 19, 2020
George “Robbie” S. Robinson, Ph.D., passed away peacefully on Monday, October 19, 2020, in Plano. Robbie Robinson’s fascinating life started in 1939 when he was born on a U.S. Naval Station just outside of Manila, Philippine Islands. A year later, he and his parents were evacuated before the Japanese invasion. He was awarded the Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout on his 13th birthday. Robbie’s initial high school years were in Paris, France before graduating from high school in Washington, D.C. with a four-year NROTC scholarship to Princeton University. At Princeton he majored in Civil Engineering, ran cross country track, was the Princeton Tiger at football games and the Midshipman Commander of the NROTC Unit. Due to his exceptional grades, he was selected Phi Beta Kappa a year before graduation and graduated as the top student in the engineering school and Summa Cum Laude. He received both a Fulbright and a Marshall Scholarship. Using the Marshall Scholarship, he attended Imperial College of Science and Technology at the University of London where he obtained his Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Civil Engineering. Even though he was the only American living in the student dormitories, he was the oldest and therefore ran the student pub! While there, he met Lynore Ward, of Johannesburg, South Africa, on a blind date. They were married in Johannesburg in 1964. He became a Registered Professional Engineer in both Massachusetts and Texas. He was included twice in the “Outstanding Young Men of America” listing.
As a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps (Seabees), they lived in numerous locations, especially, Washington, D.C., California, and Hawaii. Robbie served two tours of duty as a Seabee company commander in Vietnam for which he received the Navy Commendation Medal with the Combat V. Between these combat tours, he was tasked to lead a team of Seabees, professional engineers and Smithsonian scientists to explore the island of Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean. This was as very successful top secret mission during which they literally rowed ashore in rubber boats, camped for months while collecting data for the future construction for the huge air and logistical base that exists today. Robbie often joked that he has his own Robinson Crusoe story. In 1970 he was selected to attend the Armed Forces Staff College. IN 1974 he was the only third Naval Officer to be selected to the prestigious White House Fellows program. He served as an immediate assistant to a cabinet member for which he received the Distinguished Service Award. Shortly thereafter, he became the Commanding Officer of Mobile Construction Battalion Four, comprised of over 1000 Seabees. Halfway through the two-year tour of duty, he had rebuilt the Battalion so well it was selected as the best unit in the Pacific Fleet and had the highest reenlistment rate. The Battalion is the only Seabee unit to be commended by the US Congress. The Governor of Guam made Robbie an honorary Ambassador for the island. He was selected for the rank of Captain two years ahead of his contemporaries. After twenty years of service he retired from the position of Staff Civil Engineer for the Pacific Fleet Logistics Command in Hawaii where he was responsible for the planning, construction and maintenance of 51 U.S. Naval Bases in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. He received the Legion of Merit Award, the highest non-combat medal awarded by the United States. The White House later selected Robbie to represent the United States in an international leadership seminar and to participate in a high level visit to China following President Nixon’s famous trip to that country. Robbie and the family moved to Plano, Texas in 1981 to work for Ross Perot and Electronic Data Systems Corporation. His initial assignment was to master plan and develop Legacy, a mixed use development in Plano with a projected population of 150,000 people. Due to the careful planning, Legacy has become one of the premier business parks in the United States and is the primary economic engine for Collin County’s phenomenal growth. It has set a standard for highly successful mixed use, new-urbanism developments. He was instrumental in negotiating the deals to locate Frito Lay, J.C. Penney, and others to Legacy. Subsequently he became the Director of EDS’ worldwide real estate operations, totaling more than 24 million square feet. While in this position he reduced personnel by 25 percent and cut costs by $170 million annually. He also led the team to rezone the EDS headquarters property on Forest Lane. This was the largest and most complex rezoning in Dallas’ history requiring more than 200 meetings with homeowners. He was then asked to set up and manage the EDS Board of Directors when EDS separated from General Motors. After his retirement from EDS in 1999, he established GSR Consulting, Inc. to assist corporations with improving their boards of directors.
Robbie and Lynore were very active in the community. His activities included Vice Chairman, Plano Chamber of Commerce, Founded and Founding Chairman of the Plano Economic Development Board, Chairman of the church development committee, co-chair of several municipal and county bond programs, Director of the Plano Public Library Foundation, Honorary Chair of the American Cancer Society’s Gunslingers Ball and one of its directors, Weekend to Wipe Out cancer, board member of the Plano Symphony Orchestra, board member of the Greater Dallas Planning Commission, business chairperson of the Trinity River Corridor Citizens Committee, Board of Live from Plano, Chairman of the County Industrial Commission, Chairman of the Plano Vision 2025 Committee, Dallas 2012 Olympic Committee, and the Founding Chairman of the Arts of Collin County. He is the co-founder of the Collin County Christian Prayer Breakfast which attracts approximately 1100 people every year. He also co-founded the Collin County Business Alliance to unite 100 top CEOs of Collin County corporations to help improve business and the quality of life in Collin County. He and Lynore served as chalice bearers and ushers at their church. He was selected as Plano’s Citizen of the Year in 2000 and the City of Plano named April 9, 1999 as Robbie Robinson Day. A street within legacy has been named after him. He then received the prestigious James N. Boswell Award for embodying the spirit of giving and leadership in the community. U.S. Representative Sam Johnson awarded him with the Inaugural Congressional Veteran Commendation.
Robbie and Lynore adopted Anthea as an infant in 1974. After she died from cancer at age 14, they endowed the Dallas Children’s Medical Center Child Life organization to assist families with the many challenges associated with a seriously ill child. There is also a scholarship in Anthea’s name at Trinity Christian Academy. This scholarship permitted well over 30 students to attend TCA. He and his wife, Lynore, established a trust at the Dallas Foundation that will support 10 charities that will continue beyond their death.
Most of all, Robbie will be remembered not only for his many contributions to family, church and community but also for his personal values, especially his integrity. His favorite Biblical quote, his motto, is “Well done good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21).
A memorial service will be held at a later date at Christ United Methodist Church at the corner of Coit and Parker Roads in Plano. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Robbie & Lynore Robinson Fine Arts Center % of the Plano Independent School District, 2700 West 15th Street, Plano TX 75075 or on line at . www.pisd.edu/foundation or alternatively to the Anthea C. Robinson Scholarship at Trinity Christian Academy, 17001 Addison Road, Addison, Texas 75001.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
George Sydnor ROBINSON Jr.
November 8, 2020
I echo Don Usarski's sentiments. I joined the battalion on Diego Garcia and it was clear that a transformation of the battalion was happening. CDR Robinson put me in charge of Alpha Company, the biggest company in the battalion and engaged in a complex runway paving project. His leadership and trust gave me the confidence to take on the challenge and truly set my navy career on the right path. I only hope when I had the opportunity to serve as a Captain and Commanding Officer I had a tenth of Captain Robinson's leadership ability. If I did, it is to Robbie's credit.
November 6, 2020
Robbie was a remarkable man, as noted by those who knew him from the time when he was in the military, and their tributes to him are sincere and accurate. But they obviously have not been in touch with the family for a number of years and do not know that Lynore passed several years ago, and there are no other members of Robbie's family. I thought it would be kind to let them know that neither Lynore nor any other family member needs consolation or is grieving. And those of us who knew Robbie from his days at EDS and kept up with Robbie and Lynore when she was alive in his retirement years, know that sometimes going to join your loved ones who are no longer physically among us can be a blessing. That was the situation with Robbie and if he is finally at peace, no one deserves it more.
Guy and Sue Everhart
November 5, 2020
Lynore, we were greatly saddened to learn of Robbie's passing. He certainly led a most remarkable life and was a truly incredible man. Every time we enjoy those ham and cheese crepes from your recipe, we remember the wonderful times we had in the company of you and Robbie. We hope and pray that you too find comfort in such memories.
Guy and Sue Everhart
November 5, 2020
Capt. Robbie Robinson was a fellow CEC officer and friend during our days serving in the U.S. Navy (Civil Engineer Corps). We were in various training sessions, meetings and social gatherings over those years. He was an outstanding officer and gentleman as well. He will be missed. My condolences to his family. May he Rest in Peace. Bruce B. Geibel, CAPT, CEC, USN, Retired (1966-1991)
November 4, 2020
CAPT Robinson was perhaps the most outstanding leader I have ever known. I was a company commander in NMCB-4 when Robbie assumed command. I had joined the battalion about six months prior and was dismayed at the low morale and overall leadership. Enter (then) CDR Robinson and wow! If I hadn't experienced it, I wouldn't have believed that it would be possible how one person could turn things around so fast. He delegated, instilled trust, and restored morale. Many in the battalion, if not most, would follow him anywhere. If he had remained on active duty I'm certain that stars were in his future. I'm saddened by his passing. I wish for him fair winds and a following sea. My deepest condolences go out to his family.
November 4, 2020
Lynore, I never met a finer person in my life than Robbie. He set the standard for all of us CEC officers. I called and sought his advice on many issues during my 34 year career in the CEC ending with me being the Chief of the CEC. I always admired Robbie and considered him to stand above all others. I wish you the very best and deeply share your loss. If I can ever be of assistance to you, contact me. Warmest regards and with the greatest of respect for both of you. Jack Buffington, RADM, CEC, USN (Ret).
November 2, 2020
Robbie was probably one of the most knowledgeable and most disciplined person I worked with at EDS. Robbie, Lynore and Anthea added a lot to Leahray & my life. I continue to miss them..
October 27, 2020
Robbie and Lynore were dear and fine people. Their warmth and community contributions were a wonderful reflection of their values and their compassion. Robbie was my friend for almost 40 years. I will miss him.
October 26, 2020
Robbie was an amazing colleague and friend. One would have had no idea about his extraordinary accomplishments as he was just such a kind, warm, self-effacing person. Always humble and willing to help however he could.
I had the pleasure of not only working with him but also got to see him regularly when he and Lenore moved to the Legacy. He will be missed. May his memory be for a blessing.
October 22, 2020
Robbie will be missed. He was a man of extreme discipline, brilliant intellect and a passion to help others.
I remember the years playing with Anthea as a kid, mowing their yard when I was a teen (which took 4 hrs on a riding mower), swimming in their pool, going to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with them at the club and hearing Lynore’s infectious laughter fill a room.
He will be missed but his legacy will not be forgotten. His fingerprints are all over us and this community. I am a better person for having known Robbie and Lynore.
October 21, 2020
Robbie was a fine mentor and a respected leader of the EDS Real Estate team for several decades. He was technically brilliant, and his vision for the Legacy Development positioned the City of Plano to become a vibrant commercial hub for the generations to follow. He sought knowledge for its own sake, and inspired many to emulate his example and admire his accomplishments. I will cherish his memory.