Charles Emitt Robinson, ACSW, CISW, who had a brilliant career in Social Work, passed away quietly and peacefully at home in New Haven, Connecticut on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at the age of 86.
He was under the care of Hospice, and surrounded by his loving family in this final journey of life. Robinson was born on August 31, 1926 into a prominent African American family in Indianapolis, Indiana. His mother, the late Irene Georgia Moran Anderson Robinson, was a school teacher in the Indianapolis Public Schools when such an educational and professional accomplishment was rare. His father, Emitt Robinson, attended Christ Missionary Industrial College (C.M.&I) and founded “Toggery Cleaning Company,” a small dry cleaning and tailoring business in Jackson, Mississippi before moving to Indiana. He died before young Charles entered elementary school.
Robinson attended public schools and received his initial university education in Indiana. Charles graduated from the Crispus Attucks High School in 1944, participating with high honors and leadership in the ROTC and as an avid sports participant in track, baseball and basketball. One of his most treasured collections was the scrapbook he organized about Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball. After a two year tour of duty in World War II and a post-WWII stint in the Army, where he was stationed for a while in Germany, Robinson was honorably discharged. He returned to complete his baccalaureate degree at the Indiana University, earning a bachelor’s degree with a special interest in economics and social work in 1950. Robinson earned his Master’s degree in Social Work from the Indiana University in 1952. He continued advanced graduate education at Indiana University School of Social Work, the University of Minnesota, and Columbia University in New York City.
Charles Robinson met his future wife Ann Garrett, a Clinical Psychologist, when they were both working at Central State Hospital in Indianapolis. They married on January 21, 1961 and in August 1967, they moved to New Haven with their daughter, Angela. Their son George was born in New Haven, as was their beloved grandson R.J.
Through his Social Work expertise, Robinson became a stellar and quiet force in helping to establish and develop “helping and healing” institutions. He was recruited as a clinical faculty member of Social Work in the Yale School of Medicine, organizing community social service programs in urban areas and interpreting needs and services to community groups. He helped countless patients through direct care and treatment; and he mentored many young professionals in their studies and pursuit of careers in human services. (See newspaper articles, “Indiana Experience, Social Work Director Gets Hill Health Post” in New Haven Journal Courier, Monday, July 29, 1968, p.4 and “Robinson Heads Social Work at Health Center” in The New Haven Register, Monday, July 29, 1968, p.36).
During his 25-year career at Yale, he served as Director of Social Work at the Hill Health Center. Under his leadership, Hill Health Center made their services available to over 8,000 children. In addition to his appointment with the Hill Health Center, Robinson was an Instructor in Social Work in the Department of Pediatrics of the Yale School of Medicine.
When he retired in 1992, he was the Director of Psychiatric Social Work and Assistant Clinical Professor (Social Work), Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, linked to the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Charles and his wife, Ann, devoted their lives to helping to improve the quality of urban life and to enrich its cultural and intellectual opportunities.
Charles Robinson was not only committed to his profession and his family life, he also supported important community and church affiliated organizations. He was a long-time member of and an ordained Deacon at Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church and served as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Deacons for many years. In his later years, he enjoyed attending St. Matthew’s Unison Freewill Baptist Church with his son. He lived as a Christian man who loved God, family, and community. He was a “Prince of a Man’ – a kind and steadfast gentleman. He was a proud Prince Hall Mason and a member of the Widow Son’s Lodge No.1. In the Lodge, he was a Past Master and Treasurer Emeritus. He served on the Research Advisory Team of the Little Red Brick Schoolhouse Museum located in the historic Prince Hall Masonic Temple where he was recognized with the 2012 Curator’s Award for his role for serving as a steadfast Museum Volunteer. He was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. While his various affiliations are too numerous to list in their entirety, he was an active member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), as well as professional state and local organizations; an early member of United Newhallville Organization (UNO), an anti-poverty neighborhood group in New Haven; and a heralded member of the National Family Service Association.
He was predeceased by his father Emitt Robinson, his mother Irene Anderson Robinson, and his only sibling, Mary Louise Robinson Hunt, a poet, researcher and amateur ornithologist.
Charles E. Robinson leaves to cherish him, his loving wife Dr. Ann Garrett Robinson, daughter Superior Court Judge Angela C. Robinson, son Quinnipiac Pollster George C. Robinson, grandson Ronald Jai (R.J.) Robinson Thomas, special family cousins Delores Donald (Calvin), Joyce Hair (Calvin), Robert Wright (Gina), Michael Wright (Dollis) and many beloved relatives and friends.
Services will be held at the Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church, 1324 Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 11 a.m. The Viewing Hour will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. There will be a private family burial service with Prince Hall Masonic rites. In lieu of flowers, donations, in his honor, may be made to Connecticut Hospice or the Connecticut Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Also, in Charles Robinson’s memory, Dr. Ann Robinson has established a “Charles and Ann Robinson Book Prize for Human Service Students/Psychology Students” at Gateway Community College (GCC). Memorial contributions may be made to the GCC Foundation in New Haven, Connecticut.
Funeral Services are entrusted to Curvin K. Council Funeral Home, 128 Dwight Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511. www.curvinkcouncil.com