In Memory

Verne A Robinson - Class Of 1942

Verne A Robinson

Verne Arthur Robinson was born March 23, 1924 in Long Beach, California, the second of three children. He graduated from South Pasadena High School in 1942, then enrolled in Pomona College for five semesters before he was invited to join the Navy's V12 program for officer training.

Verne began his active duty in the Navy in 1945. He was to be a part of the planned amphibious assault on Japan. However, the dropping of the atomic bombs put an end to the need for that group and he was honorably discharged in 1946. After his discharge, Verne was admitted to the Pacific School of Religion at UC Berkeley. In the spring of 1947, he attended a college retreat where he teased a young lady by putting an oak leaf in her hair, where it remained until he pointed it out to her the following day. To this day his family remains amazed that she later agreed to marry him.

Verne and Mary Beth wed in December 1948, and the following year he began his career as a part-time assistant minister in Hayward, California. Their first child, Bruce was born shortly before Verne accepted a position as a full-time minister in Buffalo, Wyoming in 1952. The family spent four years in Buffalo, during which Nancy was born. In 1956, Verne accepted a call to start a new church in Orem, Utah. The church start was successful, and the family welcomed Anne into their lives while there.

In 1960, the family moved to Roseburg, Oregon to start another church. Shortly after the move, Jane was born into the family. This church start effort was not successful, and Verne resigned in 1962. This was a difficult year for the family, as the death of Nancy coincided with the loss of Mary Beth's pregnancy in the third trimester. In 1964, things began looking up. Verne obtained a part-time position as chaplain at the VA Hospital in Roseburg, and Lisa was born. When the opportunity arose to transfer to a full-time position at the VA Hospital in Sheridan, Wyoming, the family packed up and readily returned to the area they had loved. Verne retired from the VA in December 1984, but remained active as an interim minister to churches in the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ. At the same time, he invested in rental houses and apartments to provide affordable housing to lower income folks.

Throughout his life, Verne was an active tennis player, winning many tournaments in both singles and doubles. He was also part of several bowling leagues and an active outsdoorsman, enjoying camping, backpacking, fishing, and hiking with his family. 

Verne and Mary Beth moved from Wyoming to Talent, Oregon in the spring of 2002, where they lived until Mary Beth passed away in 2005. At that time Verne moved to Oak Harbor, Washington, where he died quietly at home on July 25, 2019 at the age of 95.

Verne is most proud of the halfway house he helped establish for patients discharged from the alcoholic rehabilitation unit of the VA in Sheridan and its 80% success rate. He also helped establish a soup kitchen in the basement of the First Congregational Church in Sheridan. Known as Lunch Together, it remains active, with more than a dozen churches and organizations taking turns providing meals and servers.

Smith Whidbey Record, August 20, 2019