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William Robinson

Born on 12-29-1913. He was born in Valdosta, Georgia. He later died on 7-5-2008.
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William F. Robinson was born on December 29, 1913 to Annette Harris Robinson and Mitchell Robinson. He was born in Valdosta, Georgia. As a child, he moved with his parents, brother Troy and sister, Annie May to Miami, Florida. In 1925, he moved with his mother and siblings to White Plains, New York, where he lived until moving to Buffalo, New York in 1942.

While in White Plains, Mr. Robinson met the love of his life, Hassie Williams. They married in early 1941 and three children were born of this union; daughter, Anne Raynette and twin sons, Barry Lane and Brian Elliot. Both sons predeceased Mr. Robinson and his wife of 46 years, Hassie died in 1987.

Mr. Robinson came to Buffalo, a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Being a trained metal welder, he was recruited to build machine guns at the old Buffalo Arms Plant, where he worked during World War II. Later, he was employed at the International Railway Company which was the forerunner of the Niagara Frontier Transit (NFT) and the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority-Metro (NFTA). He was one of the first African American bus drivers and drove for 35 years until he retired. He was featured in the NFTA television commercials celebrating Black History Month for over five years.

He joined the Centennial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1979, under the Pastorate of the Rev. Maceo Freeman and remained a faithful member there.

Mr. Robinson had many passions in his life, one of which was politics. He was a Democratic Committeeman for over 30 years. He was elected to the Erie county Legislature in 19986 and served four terms. He was probably the first father to succeed his son in the Legislature as Barry had served several terms before him. He remained involved in many civic and philanthropic organizations such as: President of the Council of Senior Citizens clubs of buffalo and Erie county; President of the William-Emslie YMCA Seniors club; President and board Member of the Ellicott district Concerned Taxpayers Association; the buffalo Urban League; and the NAACP. He was the oldest member of St. John's Lodge #16 F &H and was a member of the Bison Consistory #29 A.A.S.R.P.H.A.

Another one of Mr. Robinson's passions was baseball. His cousin taught him to play the catcher's position when he was a youth in Miami. In White Plains High School, he played on championship teams. Traditionally, the championship team played the underclassmen at the Military Academy at West Point. In 1933, Mr. Robinson's high school was told if they had any "coloreds" on the team, they could not play, so the coach left Mr. Robinson at home. Undaunted, he went on to play semi-professional baseball in the Negro Leagues, playing for the Brooklyn royals. His uniform hangs in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

Having been a caddy in his youth, golf was another one of Mr. Robinson's favorite sports. He followed tiger Woods' career with passion, saying that he was the greatest golfer ever.

Of all his passions, Mr. Robinson's greatest love was reserved for his family. He was the consummate family man caring, giving and loving. In addition to his three children, he was blessed with eight grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.

Mr. Robinson died on July 5, 2008 and is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery.