Yesterday, I buried my last Grandfather. This was my paternal Grandfather. He was a great man and I want everyone to know what kind of man he was. I will remember him for what he gave to me. A great deal of who I am is because of him. I have to express this because I need to feel this…
Eugene Robinson, Sr. was born in Reynolds, Georgia in 1923. He had a third grade education and never learned how to read. He wasn’t allowed to go to school because he was a good worker. Nonetheless, he entered the Army and served our great Nation in World War II and ended his Military career with Honor. After leaving the Army, he went to work for Augusta Roofing company where he worked for many years. In those years, he realized that they were not going to take care of his retirement and needed to do something else. So he started Robinson Roofing company. He operated his business for over 20 years and became one of the largest roofing companies in the Central Savannah River area. He did all this while raising 9 children with one wife. My father is the oldest of the 9.
Over the time of his life, he endured the house being burned down twice. Both times, he rebuilt the house with his own hands using mainly scrap wood and items that were thrown away at other construction sites. My father was a witness to all of this.
At the same time, Grandfather wanted to make sure that his children had the opportunity to attend college. Although he could paid for it, he made sure that they all had the opportunity to attend. Knowing where he came from, my father took advantage of the opportunity and went on to receive multiple degrees that include a PhD.
This man was an avid traveler. In his elder years, he spent months at a time driving across America and see the sites that some people never get a chance to see. He lived his life on his own terms. This his story and this his testament.
To anyone who may read this:
My Grandfather was more than a man. He is an idea. I didn’t get to spend much time with him over the years (having 33 grandchildren and 38 great-grands don’t leave you with too much time to give to everyone). So, what I have is the idea of who he was.
When I was in high school, he took all of his grandchildrent (at the time) to Disney World for a week. He packed us together into 3 15-passenger vans and drove of to Disney World. He took care of everything. He even gave us spending money to make sure that no one was left out. I will remember this all the days of my life. After all of trials and tribulations in his life, he made time to share with all of us. He was a superstar and I was a fan. What amazed all of us was that everywhere we went with him, everyone knew him by first name. It was as if he had friends in every town and every restaurant. This was the kind of man he was.
So, if you ever want to know who I am, just read this again and this will tell you half the story. I love to travel because I am the son his son. I am an entrepreneur because I am the son of his son. I love people because I am the son of his son. I want to be the best father and husband because I am the son of son. This is who I am.
Thank you for blessing me with my ancestors. I come from a long line of great, god-fearing people. Whatever I may endure in life is made easier by this fact. I pray that I can give away to others all that you given to me. My Grandfather served you and others. I only hope to do the same.
There are no words that I can say that can express what you mean to me. I sure you know that I love you, but if I ever forgot to say it, “I love you and I thank you.” When I get weak along my journey, I will think of you. You provided a firm foundation for me. I must take it and rise higher for my children. I will do my best and represent you well. So, until we meet again, safe travels in the heavens…