A Heavenly Celebration took place during the early morning of August 22, 2019, when God called His son, Dr. James Henry Robinson Jr. (85 years old) home. Born February 13, 1934, in Norfolk, Virginia, he was the third of five children born to the late James H. Robinson Sr. and Lavene Robinson Holley. Left to cherish his memory, are his loving wife, Sandra Howe Robinson; daughter, Dr. Katherine Robinson Everett and husband, Marshall Everett Jr; son, James H. Robinson III; stepdaughters, Jennifer Roberts and husband, Rickey Roberts Jr. and Lisa Hall and husband Kevin Hall; grandchildren: Terry Wayne Parker II, Khaliyah Everett, Aliyah Myers, Avery Smith, Collin Smith, Ryleigh Smith and Addison Hall; sister, Joan Robinson Hamilton; and brothers, Rolfe Robinson and Ronald Robinson and several nieces and nephews. James was preceded in death by his father and mother; first wife Willie Beatrice Powell Robinson, and sister, Delores Robinson Johnson.
During James’ developmental years, the Robinson family lived in the expansive Lambert’s Point community of Norfolk, Virginia, where he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School Class of 1952. Next, fortified by his mother’s relentless support and believing education was the path to success, he embarked upon an extraordinary, life-changing education quest and career. However, while pursuing his degree at Virginia Union University, James was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served in the continental USA and overseas, and received an Honorable Discharge. Nevertheless, James was not to be discouraged from his quest for education. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Virginia Union University, a Masters of Arts degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Hampton University, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Educational Administration and Supervision from Old Dominion University, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Educational Leadership and Doctor of Education degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
All through this time period, he had major responsibility for a diversity of administrative, school district, faculty, staff, student, and program activities where he served with distinction and received numerous awards and honors, including Norfolk Public Schools Department of Special Educational Services, International Longshoremen’s Association, Virginia Port Authority, Chesapeake Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), Tidewater Alliance of Black School Educators, Chesapeake Men for Progress, Norfolk State University Board of Visitors Virginia Principals’ Association, etc.. His professional background, training, and experiences qualified him as an educational professional, with an in-depth knowledge of administration, finance, curriculum, instruction, student achievement, and operating budgets. For example, Norfolk Public Schools: teacher, school principal, and director of special education; assistant superintendent for Hertford County Schools, NC; assistant superintendent for Halifax County Schools, NC; professor for Norfolk State University; and member of the Board of Visitors for Norfolk State University.
Dr. Robinson was one of the most conspicuously dedicated individuals of Chesapeake, Hampton Roads, Commonwealth of Virginia and globally; and he leaves an indelible mark on the entire community and region. James was superbly organized, very bright, intellectually curious, and most articulate. Highly motivated towards achievement, James demonstrated a remarkable sense of problem-identification and analysis, which enhanced his skills at problem solving. He did not seek the routine of administration, but rather anticipated problems and applied his leadership skills. He, as perpetual coach and mentor, envisioned his role as the community leader and organizer who continuously put the citizens and the community first. At all times, he was a tenacious community advocate and promoter who had the uncanny ability to look beyond the present day issues, circumstances and environments to see a brighter future for everyone. Furthermore, as a lifetime member and Trustee of First Baptist Church of Lambert’s Point, he understood it was the church’s and community’s responsibility to provide the leadership where no one was left behind. He was always on a crusade to make everyone’s life better.
Through the years, James formed many life-long friendships as a member and leader of countless local and national professional organizations, including Phi Delta Kappa, National Education Association, Virginia Education Association, Education Association of Norfolk, National Elementary Principals’ Association, Virginia Elementary Principals’ Association, Norfolk Elementary Principals’ Association, Council of Exceptional Children (National, State and Local), Tidewater Association of Retarded Citizens, Division of Superintendent’s List, National Alliance of Black School Educators, etc. Likewise, he was a member and leader of numerous civic organizations, such as Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (Zeta Chapter at Virginia Union University and the Norfolk Lambda Omega Chapter), First Baptist Church of Lambert’s Point, Local 1248, International Longshoremen’s Association, James Monroe School PTA, Providence Square Civic League and Past President, YMCA, Optimist International, etc.
Dr. James H. Robinson Jr. was an inspiration to all who met him, always ready to make you smile, truly ready for any reason to support a noble cause, always took the time to ask how you were and really wanted to know. His memory will be cherished by all.