James Edward “Jim” Robinson passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 surrounded by his family. He was 93 years old.
A moral pillar of his community, Jim was best known for bringing compassion and dignity to everyone — especially those who struggled to survive due to meager resources or opportunities.
Jim was born on March 29, 1930 in the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian mountains – Celina, Tennessee.
He was preceded in death by his father, James Lewis Robinson of Des Moines, IA; his mother, Maude Houser (Brown) Robinson of Celina, TN; his brother, Norman Lester Robinson of Ohio; and sister, Norma Jean (Robinson) Hawkins of Celina, TN. Jim will be laid to rest next to his beloved son, Dr. James Scott Robinson, at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Lebanon, TN.
He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Annabelle (Beumel) Robinson of Lebanon, TN. He is cherished by daughter, Robbie A. (Robinson) Hutchens and his son-in-law, David B. Hutchens of Smyrna, TN. His family remembers how he tapped his foot when granddaughter, Emory A. Hutchens, played the fiddle and how he passed his love of the land on to grandson, Oliver B. Hutchens, each of Smyrna, TN.
A lifelong learner, Jim began saving money for a college education as a young child. He raised corn and pigs on the family farm, benefitting from the care, wisdom, and faith of his grandmother, Ida Chapman Brown. Jim was paid five cents each day to arrive early to build the fires that warmed the classrooms. Persevering through the hardships of poverty, he found bliss in playing football in the cow pastures, which sparked an enduring love of sports. Walking to and from school every day of his childhood, he graduated from Celina High School in 1950.
Benefitting from the GI Bill, Jim enlisted in the Navy during the Korean conflict and served on the USS Herbert J. Thomas from 1951-1952. Working multiple jobs to pay tuition, he graduated from MTSU in 1956 with a B.S. in physical education, minor in biology. He also earned an M.A. in supervision and administration in 1958 and completed more than 30 hours toward a Ph.D.
Jim was known as a rigorous, passionate, and caring instructor and coach. He began his education career as science and social studies teacher at Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN, where he also coached swimming, basketball, and football (1956-1971). His devotion to public schools (1971-1984) commenced at the old Carroll School, where he served concurrently as principal, middle school teacher, bookkeeper, and custodian. A no-nonsense administrator, Jim became the first principal of Carroll-Oakland Elementary. Following his lively educational career, he became a spirited real estate agent for his clients and benevolent landlord to the tenants of his properties (1984-2023).
Jim was deeply integrated in the Wilson County community and known to be honest, dependable, and friendly. He was a member of the College Street Church of Christ for 42 years, where he also served as deacon. There Jim and Annabelle established the School Store in 1996 to support the learning and well-being of vulnerable children like himself, who came to school without adequate supplies or clothing. He was a member and past president of the Lion’s Club; enthusiast of the Sound & Light Theater Company; avid outdoorsman and long-time member of the Sportsman’s Club; and perennial gardener and diehard Tennessee Volunteer fan.
In a way, Jim Robinson never stopped building fires in the hearts and lives of those he encountered who found themselves in the cold. Jim’s life might best be reflected in the words of Matthew 25:40 NIV, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
In honor of Jim’s lifelong passion, the family requests that you support one of these nonprofit organizations in lieu of flowers:
• College Hills School Store, to ensure local children have necessary supplies and clothing for school. https://collegehills.org/ Click: Give; Choose Vision Fund; Choose: Subfund, Choose: Jim Robinson Memorial.
• Healing Hands International, to ensure humanitarian aide to people in crisis around the globe. https://www.hhi.org/
• Wounded Warriors, to ensure veterans receive vital support for visible and invisible wounds of service. https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org
A Celebration of Life for James Edward Robinson will take place at College Hills Church of Christ on Saturday, November 11, 2023. Visitation will be from 12:00 to 3:00 pm. A memorial service will begin at 3:00 pm. A private military burial guided by Partlow Funeral Chapel will take place at Cedar Grove Cemetery prior to the service.
PARTLOW FUNERAL CHAPEL in care of arrangements. 615-444-7007 www.partlowchapel.com
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