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Lifelong educator, former college dean dies

Services for Robinson are Saturday in Dawsonville

POSTED: July 19, 2012 6:15 p.m.
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Herbert Robinson, seen in 2009 when officials at Gainesville State College named the ballroom and multi-purpose area of a new student center at the Oakwood campus in his honor, died Thursday. Services will be held for the renowned Dawson County educator and former dean at Gainesville State College, Saturday in Dawsonville.

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A renowned Dawson County educator and former dean at Gainesville State College died Thursday morning following a period of declining health.

Herbert W. Robinson, 95, had been sick for several months, according to family and close friends.

Born in Dawson County in 1916, he lived in the county until he moved to Oakwood in 1971.

A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he is survived by his wife of 74 years, Blanche Robinson of Oakwood; sons and daughters-in-law, Daryl and Elaine Robinson of Roswell, Rodney Robinson of Gainesville; grandchildren, Reid and Erin Robinson; nieces Marsha Robinson, Sharon Faucett, Judy Adams; and nephew, Gary Robinson.

Educated in the Dawson County School System, Robinson graduated from Dawson County High School in 1933, North Georgia College when it was a two-year college and the University of Georgia where he earned his masters and doctorate of education degrees.

Longtime friend Nicky Gilleland said his legacy will live on in Dawson County where he began his career as a lifelong educator at Amicalola, a one-room school, as teacher and principal in 1935.

He later served as principal of Dawson County High School from 1947 until 1965 when he assumed the duties of Dean of Students at then Gainesville Junior College in Oakwood in 1966, the year the college opened.

"He mentored and inspired so many people. There are thousands of lives he's touched through teaching," Gilleland said.

Robinson retired at the age of 62 but continued to work in area schools and teach Sunday school at the First Baptist Church in Dawsonville where he was ordained as a Deacon at the age of 31. The adult Sunday school class in which he taught for more than 70 years also bears his name.

Following his retirement, he was elected to serve as state president of the Georgia Retired Teachers Association, representing more than 35,000 retired educators across Georgia.

"Everybody has been aware and amazed by how sharp his mind has remained as his body has aged," said retired teacher Helen Taylor. "He could stand up and make a speech without note, recalling quotes he had read."

The Dawson County School System honored his contributions by naming the county's elementary school in his honor. Herbert W. Robinson Elementary School opened in 1988.

In accepting that honor, Robinson said it was humbling and satisfying. As the years progressed, he continued to follow the school's achievements.

"His love for education and his desire to help others has made him a role model for thousands of students in all aspects of the educational field," said Gilleland, Dawson County Primary principal, at the time.

In 2009, officials at Gainesville State College also paid tribute to Robinson by naming the ballroom and multi-purpose area of the new 54,000 square foot student center at the Oakwood campus in his honor.

Robinson served as dean of students and dean of college relations at then Gainesville Junior College from the late 1960s through the 1970s. He also taught political science at the campus during his retirement until 1990.

He also taught at the University of South Carolina, the University of Georgia, North Georgia College & State University and Brenau College.

Upon his retirement, the Board of Regents officially bestowed him with the lifetime title of Emeritus Dean and Professor of Political Science.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. July 21 at the First Baptist Church of Dawsonville with Dr. Jim Gaines officiating. Interment will follow in the Dawsonville Memorial Gardens.

The family will receive friends from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Bearden Funeral Home and Saturday at First Baptist Church immediately following interment.

Flowers will be accepted or donations may be made to the Herbert W. Robinson Endowment Fund c/o Gainesville State College, P.O. Box 1358, Gainesville, GA 30503.

 

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