By Layton Fireng
On March 26, 2014, Past SMDPA Governor Norman P. Robinson was taken from us. His presence, long a resource to all of the Society is sorely missed and the loss is felt by many in the Society in many different ways.
He was the youngest of three children born to Andrew F. and Anita P. Robinson in Philadelphia, PA on November 22, 1928. Norm grew up in Swarthmore, PA and graduated from Friends Central High School in 1946. After graduating from Principia College in Elsah, IL in 1951, he entered the U.S. Army serving at Fort Benning, GA and Fort Knox, KY where he taught land mine removal to young recruits. Norm was honorably discharged in 1954 as a 2nd Lieutenant and became an office equipment salesman with the Shaw-Walker Agency in Philadelphia.
Recognizing the commercial opportunity of corrugated paper in protective packaging, Norm formed Corrugated Inner Pak Corporation in 1961.
Under Norm’s leadership, the company became an innovator in corrugated packaging, grew rapidly, and eventually was acquired by Greif Bros. Corp., a large multi-format packaging supplier and S&P 400 company. Norm then followed his passion for German engineering and subsequently formed Robinson Merit Leasing Corporation, a car leasing business which he ran until his retirement.
Norm was an avid tennis and squash player, sailor, photographer, Porsche Model 356 fan, and snow skier. Norm was a dedicated Philadelphia Orchestra supporter, often attending the orchestra’s performances in Europe and Vail, Colorado. He was also an adventurous traveler visiting numerous countries in five continents, including his most recent trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos within the past year.
Norm was very active in community affairs, including Ardmore Rotary (President, 1992-1993), Corinthian Yacht Club (Commodore, 1999-2000), and Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Board member and Governor, 2008-2010), First Church of Christ, Scientist (Board, 1970’s-2014), Union League, and Merion Cricket Club.
Norm became a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and SMDPA in 1988. He became a member of the Board of Assistants eventually was elected Deputy Governor where he dutifully wrote letters of welcome to the newly admitted members and saw to their receiving their certificates. In 2008, he assumed Governorship of the Society, where he served until 2010. Norm chaired the finance committee for many years, continuing up to his last few days.
More than anything what will be missed will be Norm, who just being who he was, was a resource, he brought his years of business to the Society and difficult problems were easily dealt with. He knew when to hold them and when to fold them, and that was the difference. Norm will be greatly missed.