ROB ROBINSON • 1952-2019
Everyone’s a hero in a rising market. It’s when inevitable hard times hit that people show their mettle.
That certainly was the case with Rob Robinson, a central figure in the Otsego County business community for 16 years as Chamber of Commerce president.
Abruptly, that came to an end in November 2011 with his arrest – handcuffed, as if he posed a threat to anyone – for alleged irregularities involving the chamber’s health-care insurance program. He was subsequently dismissed from his prominent position.
If bad things come in threes, he quickly received another body blow: He was diagnosed with kidney failure, and spent the years since undergoing dialysis and seeking to move up the list for a kidney transplant, which was never to be.
Most people would have been immobilized by the misfortunes. But not Rob.
Due to his expertise on Upstate business conditions and political trends, he was soon approached by Citizen Voices, the group of Oneonta-area business people looking for ways to improve the local economy, and for the past several years has administered and advised that organization.
As valuable – or moreso – Rob scoured the state’s newspaper websites daily, selecting items essential to anyone needing to stay up-to-date on business, and what government was planning to do to business, which he shared daily through an extensive email list. Ironically, Rob’s downstate co-defendant in the insurance case had the financial resources to fight the indictment, which was finally thrown out. Rob lacked those resources.
By then, necessity had forced him to plead guilty, and the plea ruled out any appeal on his part.
Yes, life is unfair. True, but hard to accept.
Rob never accepted it. And, regardless, he soldiered on, continuing to make experience and wisdom forged in the furnace of striving and misfortune available to his fellow citizens.
He passed away Friday, Nov. 18, at his Oneonta home.
Gone, his life – particularly the final and toughest seven years – remains an example to inspire those who remain to struggle with life’s vicissitudes.