We gather together today to celebrate the home-going of Roland H. Robinson, Sr., who was a pillar of our family, a beloved husband and father, grandfather and great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, as well as father-in-law and brother-in-law, mentor, friend, and confidante.
Roland played many roles because he had many tasks to accomplish, but none were more important to him than the roles of husband and father to his beloved wife Harriet Lucille McKeever Robinson (who passed away on April 20, 2017) and his children, Roland H. Robinson, Jr. (who passed away on August 2, 2013), Karen L. Robinson, and Allison L. Robinson.
Roland’s relationship to Harriet was a love story. They met as teenagers and classmates, who became companions and soulmates, as well as parents and spouses married for what he described as “sixty-four glorious years.”
Their courtship began in church—a requirement of Harriet’s mother that resulted in Roland’s thirty-year membership at Baptist Temple Church--and continued through Baxter Elementary School and Westinghouse High School. Roland had the advantage of being a close friend of Harriet’s older brother Sonny, who later became his beloved brother-in-law. Roland once said he was attracted to Harriet “because of her smile, genuine sense of caring, positive attitude, and endless words of wisdom.” “At the age of fifteen,” he knew he said, “she was the one for me.”
Roland and Harriet enjoyed the seasons of life together, especially spring, summer, and fall, which always brought such anticipation and excitement, beauty and pleasure, satisfaction and reflection. They also weathered winter’s ice and snow, which sometimes also brought pain and loss as well as cold. They were especially creative at Christmastime hosting many family dinners. Harriet and the girls (as we called Karen and Allison) would cook and design the holiday decorations, while Roland was the architect of a lifelike, miniature village and the engineer of elaborate train sets. Both Roland and Harriet were rapid and devoted readers. She enjoyed religious and inspirational literature, while he enjoyed western novels as well as television mysteries and detective series, and jazz and classical music, for he had once played the violin.
Roland also had a talent for car and home maintenance and repair; he could fix almost anything and once described himself as “a built-in handyman.” He also loved animals, especially dogs, and fondly remembered his two boyhood favorites, Lassie and Laddie.
As a young adult around the time of the Korean War, Roland served two years in the U.S. Army in Europe where he rose to the rank of sergeant before his Honorable Discharge. For many years afterward, he was an enthusiastic outdoorsman, who enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and boating.
Roland studied chemistry and mathematics at Duquesne University before becoming a laboratory technician and field instructor for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medical Technology. His lab contributed to the discovery of Legionnaire’s disease by performing diagnostic tests of various pneumonia samples to ascertain and isolate the single pathogen that was found to cause the disease. He retired from the lab in 1987 after a career of thirty-four years.
During the course of a distinguished career with the Veterans Administration, Roland also received special recognition from the American Psychiatric Association for being instrumental in the success of the self-renewal and self-empowerment intervention known as remotivation therapy.
Roland was a man of pride and dignity, strength and loyalty, whose chief belief was that “people treat you the way you treat yourself.” His sage advice to family and friends was “always put your best foot forward.”
Now Roland’s life has come full circle. The former neighborhood newspaper carrier has himself finally received and seen for himself the “good news.”
The former practical nurse has now been consigned to the love and care of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.The former steel mill employee who worked as a gatekeeper has now arrived with his beloved wife Harriet at heaven’s gate.The former altar boy and brick stacker who helped in the construction of Christian Chapel AME Church has now joined the congregation of Christ’s church in heaven.
The former pillar of the family has now become, according to Scripture (Rev. 3:12) a pillar in the temple of God. For Jesus said, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
To send flowers to Roland's family, please visit our floral section.