ROBINS, George

Posted: April 10th, 2017

George Richard Robins

1922 – 2017

George Robins passed away peacefully at his home on March 30, 2017 at the age of 94. He was predeceased by his wife Bess; son Jeffrey; parents Fred T. and Dorothy; brothers Chester and Fred. He is survived by his daughter Gillian Rainoldi Poulsen (Russell Poulsen); grandchildren Gabriella, Joseph and Max Rainoldi. He will be deeply missed by daughter-in-law Cynthia Robins; nieces Judy Robins and Penny Caveny (Terry); nephew Dale Robins (Glenda), as well as numerous great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins. George was born in Lethbridge and remained a resident for much of his life. He graduated from high school and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in July 1941 just prior to his nineteenth birthday. He trained in ranging and direction finding, later known as RADAR, and was first posted to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Scotland. He was selected for special training in the new H2S, the first airborne ground-scanning guidance equipment used to identify targets on the ground for night and all-weather bombing. He flew numerous missions as a RADAR technician to locations such as Gibraltar, Iceland, Montreal and Newfoundland. In 1945, George met Bess Lester, who was a Leading Aircraft Woman in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). Bess maintained photography equipment and analyzed reconnaissance photos. George and Bess were married on September 10, 1945, in Bess’s home town in Brentwood, England and later that year, George was demobilized from the RAF/RCAF and returned to Lethbridge. In early 1946, he went to Winnipeg to study architecture at the University of Manitoba and Bess joined him a few months later when she was demobilized from the WAAF. George graduated in May 1949 with a Bachelor of Architecture and as a Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada. He and Bess returned to Lethbridge and he was employed by the architectural firm Meech and Mitchell. When George later became a partner, the firm was renamed Meech, Mitchell and Robins. George served on the Lethbridge Planning Commission from January 1951 to November 1957. He was appointed Director of Planning for the new Lethbridge Regional Hospital, which opened June 1988. At that time, he was senior partner of Robins, Watson and Baunton Architects and Engineers. Many of George’s designs continue to be part of the landscape in Lethbridge and Southern Alberta: County of Lethbridge building, numerous local schools, Lethbridge Auxiliary Hospital, the Salvation Army Church headquarters, and hospitals in Banff, Picture Butte and Cardston. In addition, George served as the onsite architect under the direction of Arthur Erikson during the initial construction of the University of Lethbridge. George was active in his community, serving as a member of the Lethbridge Kiwanis Club for many years. He also established the “In Memory of Bess” endowment fund to support the efforts of single mothers to achieve a high quality of life for their families. In honour of George’s wishes, the family will hold a private memorial service.

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