Cover photo for Calvin Ray Robinson's Obituary
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1927 Calvin Ray Robinson 2024

Calvin Ray Robinson

April 17, 1927 — March 25, 2024

Owensboro, KY

Calvin Ray Robinson of Owensboro, father, lawyer, veteran, outdoorsman, and community leader passed away Monday, March 25, 2024, at The Heartford House. He was 96. Born in Owensboro on April 17, 1927, a son of the late William Addison Robinson and Mona Calvert Robinson, he graduated from Owensboro High School. Enrolling in the University of Kentucky, he was a member Alpha Tau Omega, the university debating team, president of the UK Young Democrats and the Interfraternity Council and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He attended the University of Wisconsin, where he studied philosophy and economics. Returning to Kentucky, he enrolled in the University of Kentucky Law School from which he earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1953. While a senior law student Mr. Robinson was a member of Phi Delta Phi, the international legal fraternity, and served as Home Secretary in the Lexington office of U.S. Senator Thomas R. Underwood.

 Mr. Robinson served in the ranks of the United States Navy during World War II, being stationed at Mare Island, CA when the war ended. He later became a commissioned officer, retiring as lieutenant and executive officer of the Naval Reserve Center after 17 years of service.

 Mr. Robinson opened his law practice in Owensboro in 1953. His professional career included service as Master Commissioner under the appointment of six circuit court judges. He served twice as president of the Daviess County Bar Association and was appointed Circuit Court Judge by Governor Martha Layne Collins, succeeding Judge Henry Griffin.

 An entrepreneur, he founded and served as president of Live Answerfone, Owensboro’s first answering service. For more than 50 years the company took calls for countless businesses and medical
 professionals. The company was the first FCC pager and mobile phone licensee in Daviess County, a service
 which was later replaced by cell phones.

 He served his community in many ways. Then Mayor Irvin Terril appointed Mr. Robinson to the board of the Owensboro Riverport, which he served as chairman leading the effort to secure funds from the Economic Development Administration to construct the riverport. He resigned from the board to serve as general counsel to the board during its first ten years of operation.

 Mr. Robinson was one of the organizers and attorney for the West Daviess County Water District and co-counsel in the organization of the East Daviess County Water District.

 He was appointed by then Mayor Waitman Taylor to the first board of Downtown Owensboro and served as chairman of the Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Joint Beautification Committee. Mr. Robinson served 12 years on the Mayor’s Committee on City Appearance, which later became the Beautification Division of the Facilities Maintenance Department of the City of Owensboro. Mr. Robinson was a recipient of the NAACP Presidents Award.

 A founder of the Dogwood and Azalea Trail, he was also chairman of the committee that developed a number of city beautification projects, including Cap Gardener Park, Dugan Best Park, and the fondly remembered medians of Frederica Street.

 Mr. Robinson’s fondness for the outdoors covered a wide spectrum. He served as chairman of the Owensboro Boat Club which was involved with the reestablishment of a boat dock at Smothers Park. In 1959 he was elected president of the Daviess County Fish and Game Association which at the time had a membership of about 40 families. He was later appointed grounds chairman. In that role 10,000 trees were planted, and a trap shooting range, campground, beach, and picnic areas were constructed. When he left the position, membership was capped at 1,000 families.

 His love for duck hunting resulted in his presidency of the Green River Vally Duck Hunter’s Club. He and duck hunters from Daviess and Henderson counties lobbied Congress and the Kentucky legislature to purchase thousands of acres of bottom wetland. They became the Sauerheber Sloughs Management Area where hundreds of thousands of waterfowl winter every year. As might be imagined, Mr. Robinson loved owning and caring for Labrador Retrievers.

 As a certified open-water scuba diver, he often traveled to Cozumel, Mexico in pursuit of the sport.

 He was preceded in death by his wife Janet Haycraft Robinson.

 Those who remain to honor his memory include his children Laura Robinson of Louisville and David Ray Robinson of Seattle, WA; his grandchildren Jenny Snedeker Hickman and her husband D.J. of La Grange, IN, David Porter of Louisville, Rachel Porter Adams and her husband Matthew of Nashville, Oliver Yu Robinson and Louis Yu Robinson of Bellingham, WA; and his great-grandchildren Caleb, Cody, and Calvin of La Grange, IN, and Porter and Lila of Nashville.

 A Celebration of the Life of Calvin Ray Robinson will be 3:00 p.m. Friday at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory where friends may gather at 2:00 p.m. Private burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery.

 In memory of Calvin Ray, friends are invited to plant a dogwood or azalea in the location of their choice.

To order memorial trees in memory of Calvin Ray Robinson, please visit our tree store.

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Friday, March 29, 2024

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