George LaForest Robbins

George LaForest Robbins (BS Civ Egr ’50) of New Harbor, Maine, died peacefully on January 30, 2012, at his home, surrounded by his family. He was 86.

Born in Newton Center, Mass., on Oct. 10, 1925, he was the son of Donald and Mildred Moody Robbins. He attended schools in both Massachusetts and Detroit, Mich. After graduation he joined the United States Army Air Corps and served from 1943 to 1946. After leaving active duty, he remained in the reserves as he went on to college.

He was a man who loved life and all of the adventures and journeys that it would bring. He was an avid sailor, a passion that he enjoyed all of his life. While in college he started and was the first commodore of the Michigan State University Sailing Club, and was a member of the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association, which organized intercollegiate dinghy racing in the Midwest. He was also vice president of the college skiing club.

After receiving his BS in civil engineering in 1950 from Michigan State University, he began his career by working as resident engineer for the town of Milwaukee, Wis., for a year before moving to U.S. Steel, where he worked in a variety of positions including chief engineer of U.S. Steel's Limestone Operations in Rogers City, Mich. When he retired in 1982, he was working as manager of mineral properties at U.S. Steel headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Following in the wake of more than 20 sea captains in his family lineage, upon retirement he was able to fulfill a lifetime dream of sailing with his wife, Lee, aboard their 35-foot sloop, the Talisman III. The couple enjoyed a year at sea, sailing to the Caribbean and other islands before returning home. After his return from sea he went back into the workforce as a project manager for ORBA/Litwin and then eventually started his own consulting firm, G. L. Robbins & Associates.


When he was not on board a boat you could find him on the tennis court. He loved the sport and served as a board member of both the United States Tennis Association, New England Division, and the Maine Tennis Association. He was also instrumental in the development of wheelchair tennis in the New England area, serving on the USTA New England Wheelchair Tennis Committee, of which he was co-chair for three years. For his tireless efforts, he was presented with the USTA Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award for outstanding lifetime contributions to tennis in the New England Area.

He ascended Mt. Katahdin eight times, demonstrating his love for the outdoors. He enjoyed science and history, building model ships, and playing bridge. He was a volunteer serving as an interpretive guide and board member with the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid.

He was predeceased by a son, Stephen Robbins. Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Lee Robbins, of New Harbor; four sons: Reid (Mary) Miner of Cary, N.C.; David (Linda) Robbins of St. Louis, Mo.; Jay (Mauri) Miner of Seattle, Wash.; and James (Yana Tishchenko ) Miner of New Harbor, and Zoe Miner of Fairfax, Calif.; a sister, Robbie 'Dottie' Stewart of St. Joseph, Mich.; grandchildren: Gregory (Alissa Patterson ) Miner of Sydney, Australia; Sara Miner and her husband, Ben Hubbard, of Washington, D.C.; Emily Robbins of China; Natalie (Herve) Olala of China; Elliott (Hannah) Robbins of Vienna, Ill.; Justin Miner of Los Angeles, Calif.; and Jeremy Miner of Los Angeles, Calif.; great- grandchildren: Lachlan and Isabella Miner, and Scarlett Robbins; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and countless friends.