Ronnie Robbins

November 7, 1933February 9, 2019

Ronnie I. Robbins (nee Orzoff), age 85, attorney and beloved wife of Laurence (1930-2004); loving mother of Elliott (Julie) and Racquel (Thomas) Dolson; proud grandmother of Olivia and Isabelle Robbins and Eli, Avi and Lauren Dolson; fond sister of Stewart (Bonnie) Orzoff; dear aunt of many, passed peacefully on February 9, 2019. Ronnie was a trailblazer and inspiration to many. She graduated Marshall High School at age 16, attended college at Roosevelt University, and obtained her law degree from De Paul, one of only three women in her law school class. While in college and law school, Ronnie wrote for Chicago’s Back of the Yards Journal, a community newspaper. Upon graduating law school, Ronnie worked initially as a civil litigator for an insurance defense firm defending trucking companies, and she was one of only a handful of female attorneys appearing in such courtrooms. After a few years of defense work she joined her husband in civil general practice, forming Robbins & Robbins, Ltd., where she specialized in workers’ compensation and injury litigation on the plaintiff’s side. She was again one of only a small group of women advocating in these specialties in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She retired at age 55, two years after her son joined the firm, although she remained of counsel for many years.

Upon retiring, Ronnie immediately enrolled in the Four Year Basic Program at The University of Chicago, reading, analyzing and discussing the Great Books. She continued to actively participate in adult education for the remainder of her life, regularly designing, teaching and attending classes at Northwestern and NLU, and contributing numerous short stories, published in the annual journals for both programs. Her love of Chicago’s history prompted her to train as a docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundation, where she qualified to give several of the walking tours, and designed new tours for historic Highland Park and Lake Forest Cemetery. She would enjoy seeing old adversaries hustling off to court while escorting tour groups through the Loop on either her modern or historic architecture tours.

Ronnie enjoyed travel, and managed to visit 48 States and over 75 countries on six of the continents over the course of her lifetime. She wrote prolifically for her children and future generations about her adventures and experiences in life, and about the genealogy of both her and her husband’s family in a multi-volume work. She understood the need to capture and memorialize this fleeting information existing before the electronic age of communication, and her extended family will forever be grateful for this labor of love.

Ronnie mentored and inspired many women, in particular, regarding attaining a balance between one’s professional career and motherhood, and the possibility that both callings could be pursued simultaneously and successfully. She also believed that a career, in her case the practice of law, should not be indefinite in duration, and if one had other passions, they should also be vigorously pursued at a young enough age where they could be enjoyed to their fullest extent. Ronnie accomplished that dream and was remarkably productive in all phases of her life.


  • Funeral Service Tuesday, February 12, 2019
  • Committal Service Tuesday, February 12, 2019
  • Shiva Tuesday, February 12, 2019
  • Condolence Calls Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ronnie Robbins

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Susan DeLeeuw

February 11, 2019

Dearest Raquel,
We were so saddened to hear of your Mom’s passing. She was such a delight to be around. She welcomed us so graciously to your family events. Her education was so apparent; but, her kindness and heart were beyond words. She will be so missed.
You, Tom, Eli, Avi and Lauren are in our thoughts and prayers.
Love, Aunt Susan and Uncle David

Theresa Kurowski

February 10, 2019

My Condolences to the family of Ronnie Robbins.
Very loving Mother and Grand Mother.
Highly Respected.