Richard Robbins: 1920 - 2021

Richard Barton Robbins, 11/10/1920 - 6/17/2021.

Born in Saint Paul and raised in Seattle, “Bart” Robbins spent the majority of his long, productive life on the Hood Canal. He served in the Navy during WW2 and married his lifelong companion, Penelope Fuller, in August of 1945, shortly after the war in the Pacific ended. After the Navy he worked for Simpson Timber Company, and they lived in Shelton and then McCleary until 1953. During those years they had four children and made lasting friends in the Shelton and Simpson communities. He took a job in Oregon for a brief period, then in 1955 he and Penny moved their family to Hama Hama, where they spent the following six decades turning the family property into a sustainable business. Bart’s grandfather had purchased the property on Hood Canal in 1899, and his father started a logging company during the 1920's. The business downsized in the 30s during the Depression and by the 1950s had no steady source of income. In the early years, while building the oyster business, Bart sold shrimp, wild Christmas trees, shake bolts, and scrap metal. Oysters were his main concern until the second growth timber matured in the early 1970’s.

Over the course of his life Bart taught all his kids and grandkids how to straighten a bent nail in order to save a penny, and, leading by example, showed us how to work on behalf of our family and community. He taught us how to fish and how to ride a horse. He loved gardening, especially bulbs, and raised many orphaned birds and other small creatures. Up until the age of 50 he led long family backpacking trips through the Olympics, and after that, equally wonderful boating trips into the fjords of British Columbia.

Bart was active in many civic and business organizations, helping to found, among other entities, an early oyster farmer’s co-op and the Hood Canal State Bank. He and Penny were part of a bridge group on the Canal, and a dance club that met monthly in the 1960’s at the Holiday Beach Clubhouse, and were members of the Brinnon Community Church. Well into his 90s he was part of a group which cut firewood as a fundraiser for the local Kiwanis Club.

He had strongly held principles, an unflagging sense of duty, a 5 pm gin and tonic, and an incredible wit that remained active until his very last days. He was an avid traveler, a life-long fisherman, and unfailingly kind.

We will miss you Papa. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us.  

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