Donald ‘Mr. Rob’ Robinson, dedicated math teacher, devoted to family, friends

Donald Wayne Robinson, Don or “Mr. Rob” as his students called him, died suddenly Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. He was born in 1939 in Springfield, Vt., to Willis and Irene Robinson. His formal education was at Cavendish Elementary, Chester High School, Keene State College (BA) and Bowdoin College (MA). He was also honored with a Ford Fellowship Grant in the 1970s, which he used to further his studies and collect new ideas to bring back to his classrooms. His informal education was from the “teachable moments” of every day.

Donald Robinson

Donald W. Robinson

Mr. Robinson began working with kids as a professional district Boy Scout executive and quickly entered his true devotion of teaching, first at Chester-Andover Elementary, and later at Springfield (1966 to 1970), then at Green Mountain Union High School in Chester (until 1999). He taught math, or as he said more precisely — he taught kids — and also coached soccer.

During retirement, he returned to teach as a substitute (2012-2015), and enjoyed catching up with the many children and grandchildren of his earlier students.

He did not know the meaning of retirement. Besides substitute teaching, he timed soccer games, served as a Town Lister, prepared taxes professionally, drove airport runs for NewsBank and car trips for Kelly Chrysler and continued to just be there as Mr. Fix-it for his many friends.

Mr. Robinson was very active in his community. Most recently, he was a member of the Chester Development Review Board and chair of the Building and Maintenance Committee of the Chester-Andover Family Center. Few areas of the center’s building do not carry his mark. For more than 25 years, he was on the John Butler Scholarship Committee of the Chester Academy and enjoyed being part of the distribution of funds to enable students to further their education.

Mr. Robinson and his high school sweetheart, Delores Jennison, were married in 1960 and celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary this year. Their three children are David Keith Robinson, who followed in his father’s footsteps of teaching, Denise Chouinard (Joseph Chouinard III), and Donna Moriarty (Aleksi Moriarty). His grandchildren are Courtney Robinson, Caitlyn Robinson, Cody Robinson and Ensor Moriarty. His great-grandson is Michael Robinson.

His children and grandchildren were the light of his life and, though distance separated them, he still managed to be a major influence in their lives. As a father and grandfather, he could not have been more proud of his family. He was also proud of being a true native Vermonter and enjoyed all of the gifts of Vermont’s waters and hills.

A service in celebration of his life will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at Chester First Baptist Church, 162 Main St., near the Green, with a reception following. Those who wish to make a donation in honor of his life may give in support of education programs to the Chester-Andover Family Center, to the Chester Academy (P.O. Box 512 Chester VT 05143) or to the charity of their choice.

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  1. Brian Merrick says:

    My condolences Delores. I have respected and admired Donnie since going to school with him in the mid-’50s. He was a great guy and I’m sorry that I saw him so infrequently in the past years. The world needs more Donnie Robinsons.
    Brian Merrick (Dooley)

  2. Barbara Calhoun says:

    Don Robinson was a kind caring and special man.
    I am so so sorry to hear of his passing.

  3. Betty McEnaney says:

    Chester’s own Mr Robinson who found good in every student he taught. How lucky his students were. How lucky we all were to have had him touch our lives.

  4. Dolores says:

    Delores, So sorry to hear of Donnie’s passing. He will be missed by many. Dolores Gragen Kennett and family.

  5. Bob Furman says:

    There was never a more dedicated, kind, caring and patient teacher than Don Robinson. Godspeed Mr. Robinson, heaven has gained one of the best.

  6. Dale Whitney says:

    As one of his many students, I send my deepest condolences … the true meaning of leadership and caring. Thank You Sir !