Former Homer resident Richard “Dick” West Robinson, 90, died peacefully in his sleep Nov. 30, 2013, in Boulder, Colo., after a long illness. In his final days he was surrounded by his family and friends.
Dick lived a long adventurous life, and was the direct product of the extraordinary times in which he lived. Born Dec. 10, 1922, in Miami, Fla., Dick spent much of his childhood during the Great Depression on a farm in rural Tennessee, where he learned a wide variety of carpentry and other skills that would become so important to him in later years.
During World War II, he served in the 60th Bomb Squadron of the 39th Bomb group of the Army Air Corps in the Pacific. He received extensive training as a remote turret gunner on the B-29 bomber. He flew numerous combat missions over Japan, including Tokyo. On one such mission his aircraft was shot down, and he parachuted into the East China Sea. Fortunately, he was rescued along with the majority of his fellow crewmen, and they continued to fly missions until the war’s end.
After the war, Dick took advantage of the GI Bill, and went to college and law school at the University of Miami. Early in his legal career, he investigated claims of Communist infiltration of the State Department and other federal government agencies. After his government service, he began a private practice in downtown Miami, focusing on real property and estate law.
As was the case with many of the Greatest Generation, Dick became restless and dissatisfied in the late 1960s. The country and city he loved were changing in many ways, becoming too big, too crime-ridden and too stifling. He wanted to live where he could be free and in control of his destiny, and in a place as far away from Miami — geographically and metaphorically — as possible. Around this time, he fell madly in love with his wife Anne, who shared his dreams of a very different and much more fulfilling life. Dick took Anne on a short trip to Alaska, visiting Homer, which they instantly recognized as the place where they could restart their lives together.
In May of 1972, Dick quit his law practice and he and Anne packed up their kids and possessions in two vehicles and two trailers, and drove from Miami to Homer. There, together they built numerous residential and commercial rental buildings, and, eventually, a mini-storage business. Dick lived the remainder of his life with the woman he loved, in a place he loved and on his own terms. He and Anne traveled extensively, both in the United States and abroad. Together they pursued many hobbies and interests, including hunting, shooting, fishing, camping, boating, writing, photography and stained glass until they were no longer able.
“He had a dream, and he had the vision, skill and courage to achieve it,” his family said.
Dick is survived by Anne Robinson, his wife, friend and soul-mate of more than 40 years; his daughter Susan Robinson, her husband Michael Higgins, and their daughters Riley Robinson-Higgins, Hannah Higgins, and Naomi Higgins; his daughter Deborah Jamieson and her sons Mason Perry and Isaac Perry; his son Brewster Jamieson and his wife Sheryle Jamieson, and their children Lucy Jamieson, Max Jamieson and Quinn Jamieson.
Dick was pre-deceased by his son, Johnny, who died of leukemia when he was only 5 years old; his older brother, Robert Robinson; and his younger sister, Peggy Atzel.
The family will hold a memorial service in Homer in the spring of 2014. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.