He was Dick to his wife and friends, Dad to his children, Doc to his students, and Rip to his childhood chums because of his almost-white blond hair. He was born in Atascadero, the town his father built. Since his father died at the time of Dick’s birth, he was raised by his mother, Ella, librarian at the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles, and his aunt, Marie, the first woman CPA in California, with brothers Bryce and Keith,
A born naturalist, Dick was drawn to butterflies as a child. As a plant ecologist, botanist, and biologist he became a wildflower whisperer. A Graduate of UC Berkeley (B.A.), Fresno State College (M.A.), and Oklahoma State University (Ph.D.), Dick embraced the natural world as a constant theme of his education and of his life.
Dick liked to say he had been everywhere, notably in the Philippines in World War II, in Korea during the war and afterward as a Peace Corps volunteer, and upon his marriage to Allye, in France, for yearly cultural immersion.
He also liked to say he had done everything, from egg sorter, longshoreman, mule packer, officer in the military, park ranger (to name a few of his jobs) to Professor of Biology for 41 years at Monterey Peninsula College. His teaching there was to him the most important work of his life. After his retirement he enjoyed being greeted, on his Peninsula shopping rounds, and once in the Paris airport, with a « Hey, Doc!»
When not being professorial, Dick was a super fixer: electrician, plumber, mechanic, carpenter, roof repairman, gardener, decorator, and sous-chef. He loved good food, wine, his cats, and his life. Beyond deeds and words, he was the kindness of his smile.
Dick is survived by his wife, Allye, and his four children, with his first wife Naeda, whose lives gave him pride and joy. They are Lawson Robinson (Chesterfield, Mo.), Larissa Bruhns (Berkeley, Ca.), Elena Olgardt (Windsor, Co.), and Bruce Robinson (Gilroy, Ca.). He has 11 grandchildren: Rigel Robinson, Chiron Robinson, Kent Robinson, Lawson Robinson; Maya Bruhns, Erika Bruhns; Christopher Olgardt, Sofia Olgardt, Sean Olgardt; Mackenzie Robinson, and Kai Robinson.
Dick would like those to whom his life was a gift to celebrate his life in the way they choose to remember him.
Great appreciation goes to the Hospice of the Central Coast and in particular to his nurse for 2 1/2 years, Matthew Wallbeck.
Donations in his memory may be made to Monterey Peninsula College.
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