Community remembers Jock Robinson 0
The high school gym in Flesherton was packed on Saturday. The crowd was expected for the celebration of the life of popular local figure Dr. John Donald "Jock" Robinson.
He died on Sept. 30 at the Centre Grey Hospital in Markdale where he worked for years as part of the medical team. He would have been 88 years old on Oct. 21.
Jock and his wife to be Geraldine Moore met in the northwestern Ontario community of Geraldton just prior to the start of the Second World War. She was a young teacher. His family had recently relocated from Japan where his parents ran an academy school there.
He joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942 at the age of 17 and served as a radio officer and served on a Corvette in the north Atlantic. He and Geraldine were married upon his return from duty in 1945.
Jock attended University of Toronto's school of medicine and graduated in 1952.
The young couple moved to Flesherton the following year where he begin his medical practice and over the years became deeply involved with his community.
They had four children, Mary Robinson Ramsay, Geraldine Kim Robinson, John Mark Robinson and Donald Scott Robinson.
Cooper Robinson characterized his grandfather as stubborn but compassionate. He described Jock's dedication to community, his selfless devotion to family and penchant for single malt scotch.
In a tribute to his father Scott revealed the complexity of Jock's personality describing him as bright, adventuresome, mischievous and philosophical as well as humorous, compassionate and disciplined.
He was "a competitive, tough task master," said Scott, virtues that he says his father learned living in Japan as a youth and through playing tennis -- qualities that he passed on to his children and seven grandchildren.
Born in Japan to Cuthbert and Jean Robinson, the children of missionary parents, Jock grew up speaking English and Japanese. It's there he developed his love of the outdoors and nature. As a child he spent summers at a cottage on Lake Norjiri in the Japanese Alps where he began his love of skiing, hiking, swimming, sailing, canoeing and tennis.
One of Jock's favourite places to commune with nature was a 90 acre farm that he bought on the edge of the Beaver Valley which he planted with trees over the years that eventually became a beautiful mixed forest.
He loved to fly. His first plane was a Cessna 172B. Scott described trips that he and his siblings took with their father in his small single engine plane. Over the years Jock owned a total of five planes " and wrote of two of them," said Scott.
Any time the opportunity presented itself Jock would take the children on flying adventures all over Ontario as well as to visit his brother Stuart Robinson in Nova Scotia.
Despite long days in his private practice, which he ran from the family home, making house calls and taking his turn in the emergency department at the Centre Grey Hospital he always made time for his family.
"He did what a good father should, he was just there," said Scott as he pulled out a hip flask and a shot glass from his pocket. He poured out a dram of Scotch and toasted the memory of his father.
In later years Jock bemoaned the loss of mobility that often accompanies old age but never lost his sense of wry humour. He could be heard to say that "It's a bitch getting old, but it beats the alternative."
Jock was appointed coroner in 1954 and served in that capacity for several years. He was also the medical officer of health for the village of Flesherton and Artemesia Township. In 1979 his last professional endeavours took him to London where he worked as a medical consultant with the Ministry of Health.
Over the years Jock was deeply involved in his community as a boy scout troop leader, secretary treasurer of the local chamber of commerce. He was active in establishing the Red Cross water safety program in Flesherton. He later became an active contributor to the area conservation authorities.
"He always had his finger in different things in the community getting this and that done, supporting Geraldine in what she does," said Grey Highlands Coun. Lynn Silverton.
In recognition of Jock's love of music three grandchildren, Cole Robinson, Catie Robinson and R.J. Robinson performed on the piano while Mark Robinson and his son Cooper played the guitar and sang a duet.
Jock's final gift was the donation of his body to the University of Toronto's school of medicine.
Jock was pre deceased by his parents, by his brother Dr. Stuart Robinson in 2011 and his sister Alexandria. He is survived by his siblings, Eleanor Kerr and Patricia Lyle, his wife Geraldine and four children and seven grandchildren.