Marilyn Elaine Robinson
On Friday, March 4th, Marilyn Elaine Robinson (05/31/1943), left this world, with love in her heart, fire in her soul, and a “this isn’t goodbye” to her loved ones. Born in Baltimore, MD but South Shore, KY is where she called home, Marilyn was the woman we all wanted to be when we grew up. A nurse for more than 20 years, proud member of the Women’s Army Corps, cancer survivor and servant to others. Marilyn had an affection for music, frequenting concerts and loved to listen to bluegrass and country; many times, she could be found sitting down and playing a tune on her piano or humming her favorite harmonies. A ‘wild-child’ growing up in the 50’s, she repeatedly said how everything changed for her when she had her children. Her family was her sole focus, and she worried over and took care of them until the end, sometimes to the exclusion of her own needs. Marilyn was grounded, yet a free spirit. She valued loyalty, honesty, and authenticity. She is preceded in death by her father, WWII Veteran Leslie Bivens (US Navy) and her mother, Marie Bentley-Farris, as well as her husband, Charles Alfred Robinson and brother Ted Bivens. Marilyn is survived by her cherished siblings Gary Bivens and Janet Tackett as well as her most precious gifts, her children: Crystal (Johnny)Hartwell, Charissa ‘Charlie’ (Jack) Dempsey, Betty Jo Manno, and Gary (Michelle) Robinson, her treasured son, also known as the most important man in her life. Fondly known as Mamma by her grandchildren, her great love of family is reflected through these amazing people: Heather LaVornia, John (Sarah)Dempsey, Chanda Dempsey, Justin (Samantha) Dempsey, Johnny Ray Hartwell, Jarrett Hartwell, Elise Thompson, and Amber Robinson. With the birth of her first grandchild, Heather, this began a whole new chapter for Marilyn. Heather was her world, her sidekick, and her best friend; she helped to raise her from the day she was born. ‘Two peas in a pod’ and ‘partners in crime’; they always shared a knowing, conspiratorial smile, an inside joke. But it did not end there, for Marilyn was blessed even further when she welcomed her nine beautiful and brilliant great grandchildren into the world: Preston, Madison, Thomas, Kaydence, Cache, Eli, Keaton, Declan and Maia. Her love for all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, along with her many nieces and nephews, was absolutely uncontested.
Mommy had an amazing sense of humor and a beautiful laugh! Her wit was razor sharp and never challenged; she helped you see a ‘new’ perspective, which was usually hers. She was kind, generous and compassionate. She believed in autonomy and dignity and a person’s right to choose the life they want. She struggled with the concept of tough love and was fiercely independent and private. She worried about them, rooted for them, protected them, forgave them, and always kept on loving them. She liked you or she didn’t, it was black or white…if she didn’t, let it be remembered that she could rack a shotgun with one hand, shark anyone at a game of pool and her CB handle was the ‘Traveling Gypsy’! With that said, she was genuine to a fault, she meant what she said and said what she meant, she sugar coated nothing. Her words of encouragement, wisdom, and sometimes comfort, kept them in line, taught them the “school of hard knocks” and gave them something to pass down to their children. Her tenacity, wittiness, charm, and her sometimes grace, will never be forgotten.
It would be remiss not mention the love she had for her grand ‘fur-babies’. Firstly, Shay Shay, how wonderful it must be to finally have Mamma with you; along with all the heavenly snacks we are sure she is handing you, of course when no one is looking. Tang and Princess Ping-Yang, you can’t help but giggle when you say their names. Tang will miss you greatly, but will most assuredly honor you, with his well-known lightning fast ‘love’ nips, especially on those he knew you weren’t quite fond of…while little, sweet Princess distracts the unknowing with her beauty and shyness.
In closing, Marilyn will be desperately missed by all those that she has left behind. Our hearts are so broken by this loss; but to be accepted by her was a true gift. She was one of a kind and to be loved by her was to be truly blessed.
Marilyn’s life will be celebrated on Saturday, March 19th at the Lankford Funeral Home in Deland, FL beginning at 12:30 P.M. for the family private viewing. Friends will be welcomed at 1:00 P.M. with a 2:00 P.M. service to follow; Marilyn will be laid to rest in the beautiful DeLand Memorial Gardens.