Ronald Clarke Robinson was born February 5, 1941, in Baker City to parents Bethel Mae (Frasier) Robinson and Sidney Arthur “Hez” Robinson. They lived in a small place at Bobcat Bar on Big Creek before moving to Pondosa, where they remained until the closure of the sawmill in 1959. Ron had an idyllic childhood in the region; his family spending much time with their Randall, Johnson and Duncan relations. He considered the Eagle Cap Wilderness area his “playground” and worked for the US. Forest Service, on trail for 5 summers. After graduating from Union High School in 1959, Ron went on to college and earned his BA degree in History from Portland State University.
He served in the U S Army from 1965-1967 and was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. It was there he met nursing school graduate, Mary Lou Thrift, from southern Georgia. They married in 1967. After his discharge, Ron began working for State Farm Insurance Company as a Systems Analyst. He and Mary Lou remained in the Jacksonville area and had two daughters, Leslie Lee (1968) and Cassandra Bethany (1970). Ron transferred to the company’s home office in Bloomington, Illinois in 1973; and the family built their home in a new housing development located outside the small town of Towanda, the following year.
Ron very much enjoyed the community that he lived in. He was an active leader in the Boy Scout Troop and a friend to many. He took full advantage of the natural landscape of the area--loving to hike, camp and fish. Ron and Mary Lou had a large backyard garden in the Summer. He split logs year-round to stoke his wood burning stove in the Winter; and spent those cold Illinois months making many beautiful items by hand. Over the twenty five years spent in central Illinois, Ron loved to go to farm auctions, festivals and historical reenactment events. Another part-time pursuit was selling books and antiques at local shops and flea markets. He was also an early retailer on a new platform, called *eBay.*
After a realization that Life was Too Short to Miss, Ron decided to take an early retirement. He and Mary sold their house and moved to Richland, Oregon for the summer of 1999. They then built and moved into their current home in Springfield, where they lived down the road from Cassie and son-in-law Tom Stockton. Ron settled easily into his new lifestyle; and his particular joy was sharing time with his grandson, Walker James Stockton (2004). The two of them spent many hours in the State’s woods and rivers, and more recently at the Oregon Air and Space Museum, where they were both involved as volunteers.
In Springfield, Ron continued to sell books and antiques locally and grew his business on eBay. He eventually included both of his daughters in the book and collectible business and they spent the past several years working as a family team. Ron loved working with his daughters in this way; and he made many widespread and lasting connections through his love of books and historical ephemera. Over the years Ron and Mary Lou enjoyed traveling together. Ron made many trips back to Eastern Oregon to visit his friends and family; and he anticipated nothing more than an Elk Hunt or pack trip with his Randall cousins. He also enjoyed the many visits to Springfield made by his mother and aunt Cleo, relatives and anyone else who knew-him-when.
In 2004 Ron found a way to combine his love of hiking with a spirit of service towards his local community, when he founded the Scorpions Trail Crew--a part of a larger web of trail stewardship working closely with the US Forest Service. He was passionate about this endeavor; just two days before he passed away he was presented with an award for Lasting Impact by the US Forest Service. This honor was conferred to him bedside by uniformed representatives; and all those in attendance witnessed his great gratitude and appreciation. Ron had several health challenges over the years, and he finally succumbed to multiple myeloma after his diagnosis 7 years earlier. His sheer strength and pragmatic attitude were astonishing to many. Until the final leg of his cancer journey he was active and literally unstoppable. He was known to “shred” his walking aids and remained working with the trail crew for as long as he possibly could.
Ron passed away in the company of his close family on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 12:25 pm. He had been in Hospice for one month, which allowed for Ron to pass at home with a minimum of pain or discomfort. Per his wishes, he will be buried without a formal ceremony, in his favorite place--Eagle Valley, where he so looked forward to being in the midst of other members of his family and community.
Ron is survived by his wife Mary of 54 years, Cassie and Carl, the much-loved family dog. He is also survived by his grandson, Walker James and son-in-law Thomas Stockton; his daughter Leslie Robinson and her partner David Klawans, who reside in Los Angeles. Ron was preceded in death by his parents and brother, James Stanton Robinson and niece, Patience Robinson-Campos.
Ron will be buried at 1:00 p.m., Friday, October 1, 2021 at the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland, Oregon. Friends and family are welcome to stop by to say hello and pay their respects. For those who would like to make a memorial donation in his memory, the family suggests the Eagle Valley Cemetery Beautification Fund (future kiosk) through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon. Online condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com