Donald Robbins

Obituary of Donald Charles Robbins

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Donald Charles Robbins, son of Harvey and Kathryn Dockery Robbins, was born in Royalton, NY on August 24th, 1933. He died in Ithaca, NY on April 8th, 2018 of complications from Parkinson's disease.

Music was the central focus of Don's life. He grew up in Medina, NY, and graduated from Medina High School where he studied bassoon and violin and played in the school orchestra. He went on to obtain a Bachelor's degree in music education from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY in 1955. Drafted into the Army in 1956, he was able to continue honing his musical skills as he spent his tour of duty playing in the 7th Army Symphony under Ling Tung in Stuttgart, Germany, a time he often fondly reminisced about.

Upon returning to civilian life, Don met future wife Nancy Grawemeyer, a violinist, while studying musicology at the University of Michigan. After their marriage, the couple moved to Binghamton, NY, where Don taught music to elementary and junior high school students, played in the Binghamton Symphony and their daughters were born. In 1970 he completed a Master's of Library Science at SUNY Albany. 

In 1971, the family moved to Ithaca, where Don would work for the Cornell University Libraries for the next 27 years. After starting out as a music cataloger, in 1983, he became Rare Books Cataloger at what is now Kroch Library. The role leveraged his aptitude for languages and history, and he enjoyed it so much that he continued on in a volunteer capacity after his retirement in 1998. 

In retirement, Don continued to play recorder, crumhorn and shawm with various Early Music ensembles. He frequently went to New York City to hear world class orchestras and to indulge his lifelong interest in theater and ballet. He enjoyed attending the Grawemeyer Awards presentations in Louisville, Kentucky. He was fortunate to travel to many other places around the world, including Indonesia and Brunei, where he spent time with his grandchildren, and London where Nancy and Don celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012. 

He is survived by wife Nancy, daughters Jennifer and Melissa, and grandsons Henry Anwar and Widya Saskara. 

We welcome friends to our home at 5 Tyler Road from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, April 12th.

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Donald Robbins

In Loving Memory

Donald Robbins

1933 - 2018

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