Obituary for Helen Swanson Robinson
Helen S. Robinson died on November 2, 2017 at Hospice of West Alabama. A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at 10 a.m. at Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home South with Rev. Sandy Felkins officiating. Burial will be at 2 p.m. on November 4, 2017 in the family plot in Grove Hill Cemetery in Grove Hill, Ala. with Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home South directing. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home South.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Harriett Slaughter Swanson and Hubert Swanson; her beloved husband of 58 years, Colonel Dayton Robinson, Jr.; her infant son, John Hubert Robinson and her 20 year old son, Dayton Robinson, III.
Survivors include her loving and much loved daughter, Dr. Carolyn Marino of Tuscaloosa; her sister, Carolyn Jane Woodson of Jackson, Alabama; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers will be nephews, Kevin and Frank Woodson, Bonner and James Lee, John Jacobs and Dr. Gerald Eure.
Honorary pallbearers will be Ned Lee, Robert Berglin, John Lee, very special friend, Jane Eure, Dr. Brian Wilhite and staff, Hospice of West Alabama staff, the DCH MICU nursing staff, Angie Denmark, Amy Foster, and friend of the family, John Crowell. Also included are attorneys and family friends, Patrick Andress and Colin Barrett.
Helen was born in Frisco City, Alabama on August 13, 1925. She graduated from Grove Hill High School in 1943 and worked at Brookley Field in the office of the Judge Advocate Department for two years before attending Berea College, where she attended for three years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and a Master of English degree from the University of Alabama.
She was married to Dayton Robinson, Jr. on March 19, 1949.
While her children were young, she was an active team mother for Cub Scouts, a Brownie den mother and active as a leader for the MYF in their church.
As her husband fulfilled his duties as a career military person, she was active in the Officer's Wives Club and worked in Navy Relief projects. She supported her husband throughout his military career while living in Hawaii and many other states.
After the death of her 20 year old son, she was one of the founders of the local chapter of the Compassionate Friends, a support group for bereaved parents, and she served that group in many capacities for many years. In addition to her role as chapter leader and newsletter editor, she and her husband led workshops in the area of parental grief and bereavement throughout the southeast and Helen served on the National Board of Directors for six years. Together they served as Regional coordinators for Ala., Northwest Fla. and Miss. from 1982-1985. She chaired the National Historical Records committee for 11 years and diligently researched and gathered the Compassionate Friends records which were delivered to the Special Collections Library at the University of Chicago in October 1996. Helen received the 1998 Recognition and Appreciation Award for Outstanding Service at the Compassionate Friends 21st National conference in Nashville, Tenn. She attended the first International Gathering of the Compassionate Friends in Birmingham, England in 1994.
Helen was a loyal member of the Druid Hills United Methodist Church until her health prevented her attendance. She and her husband were generous to the Tuscaloosa and University community. An endowed scholarship was made to The University of Alabama School of Engineering in memory of their son, Dayton Robinson, III. The Trust Room at Berea College is named in honor of Helen Swanson Robinson and made possible by a donation by her husband. The DCH Cancer Center was also a benefactor as a donation was made there in memory of Dayton Robinson, II.
Helen lived out her life reaching out to others to share and divide their pain and to offer comfort and hope. Helen was lovingly cared for in the last few years by her daughter, Carolyn, who was devoted to her. She will be greatly missed by so many and leaves a legacy of service.
The family suggests that memorial donations be made in her memory to the Compassionate Friends local chapter, P.O. Box 2285, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404 or Hospice of West Alabama, 3851 Loop Rd, Tuscaloosa, 35404.