LAFARGEVILLE, NY — Barbara W. Robinson, of 20063 County Route 181, LaFargeville, died Wednesday, April 26, 2023, a few days short of her 95th birthday, at her home, surrounded by her family. She had been in declining health for the last few months.
Barbara embodied grace, fortitude, and humility, strengths she brought to raising a family, managing varied employment, and giving compassion to those in need. Her leadership and love suffused every endeavor.
Barbara was born May 9, 1928, in Cape Vincent, a daughter of Marcelyn Constance and Anthony Wood. The oldest of six children, she learned at an early age how to care for people and thought of her brothers and sisters as her “own” children, especially Joann, the third oldest, who lived with her during her senior year of high school, and, like Barbara’s own children, graduated from LaFargeville Central.
Barbara attended a one-room schoolhouse in Sand Bay, Cape Vincent through the eighth grade and then graduated from Clayton Central High School in 1945. Afterward, she worked as a long-distance operator for the New York Telephone Company.
She met Harry E. Robinson, son of Wilfred and Beulah Mohan Robinson, while on a blind date with friends. A year later, on Feb. 10, 1947, they were married in St. Mary’s Church, Clayton. They moved to LaFargeville where they raised nine children, putting every one through college, all the while operating a family dairy called West Side Stock Farm.
During those forty years of raising children, Barbara would rise early each morning to complete barn chores before packing school lunches. An astute business person, she kept track of all the farm books, paying the taxes and writing paychecks for the hired hands each Sunday night, right up until she was 85 years old.
From 1966 to 1978, Barbara worked summers at the Thousand Islands Club, Wellesley Island, in the front desk/switchboard department. From 1986 to 1991, she worked as Deputy Town Clerk for the Town of Orleans Office, along with Town Clerk Patricia Caswell. She had a special devotion to the mission and work of Hospice. As a volunteer for over twenty years, she coordinated and led the monthly Hospice support luncheons in Watertown.
A devout Catholic, Barbara was deeply involved in her home parish of St. John the Evangelist, LaFargeville. For many years she chaired its major fundraiser, the annual Harvest Turkey dinner held in early November. In addition, she served several terms as a member of the Parish Pastoral Council and as a Parish Trustee.
Barbara’s gardens were a testament to her love of flowers and her artistic spirit. She enjoyed quilting, puzzling, writing and sending cards, and reading in the evenings. When her eyes failed her, she enjoyed listening to books on tape.
More than anything, she loved to dance. Whether at Omar, Guns Corners, or the Getman House, she and Harry and their friends enjoyed dancing many a Saturday night. This love continued as she danced her way through her 90th birthday party five years ago, as well as at her granddaughter’s wedding last summer.
Even in her later years, music remained a solace, and Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius Radio provided her much comfort, with her cherished cat, Miss Kitty, curled at her feet.
Harry and Barbara raised nine children: David (Lynette), LaFargeville, Michael (Stephanie), LaFargeville, Donald, Brownville, Anne Walldroff (Wm. Edward), LaFargeville, Rita Walldroff (Marcus), LaFargeville, Gina King (Gregory), Concord, MA, Connie Clements (Robert), Castorland, Craig (Donna), Fairport, and Carla Erice (Anthony), Brooklyn. She is also survived by 22 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, a sister and two brothers, Joyce Ivey (Gary Lalonde), Clayton, Charles (Susan), Clayton, and Roger (Sally), Hughesville, Maryland.
Barbara was predeceased by her beloved Harry who died in January 1993, her step-granddaughter, Tina Tubolino, who died also in January 1993, her mother and father, who died in 1986 and 1987, respectively; and two sisters: Benita Wright, Carlsbad, CA died in March 2022 and Joann Anderson, San Diego, CA died in September 2022.
Arrangements are entrusted with the Cummings Funeral Service, Inc.
Calling hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at St. Mary’s Church, 521 James St., Clayton. A funeral Mass will be said 11 a.m. Monday, May 1, at St. Mary’s Church with her son, Rev. Donald A. Robinson, pastor of Immaculate Conception, Brownville and St. Andrew’s, Sackets Harbor, officiating. Priests of the Diocese of Ogdensburg will concelebrate. A funeral luncheon will follow the Mass at the American Legion, Main St., LaFargeville. A private burial will take place at St. John’s Cemetery, LaFargeville.
In planning her own funeral, Barbara requested that no flowers be sent for the wake or mass; instead, donations can be made to Hospice of Jefferson County’s Residence Expansion Project, 1398 Gotham Street, Watertown – in memory of Barbara W. Robinson. Barbara’s diminutive stature belied an indomitable spirit full of affection and generosity, gifts she showered on all she knew and which she bequeathed to her loving children who follow her example, ensuring that it endures.
Online condolences to her family may be posted at www.cummingsfuneral.com.