Robert A. Robinson, chief executive officer and president of Church Pension Fund for nearly two decades, died August 23 after a long illness. He was 88.
A native of Thomaston, Connecticut, he was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. One of his legs was shattered badly in the Battle of the Bulge, and he spent two years in army hospitals enduring multiple surgeries. While in a hospital on Cape Cod, he met a nurse named Ann Harding. They were married on June 7, 1947. Ann Robinson later became a longtime leader of the Prayer Book Society, which works to preserve the place of the 1928 prayer book in the Episcopal Church.
Robinson earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University. He taught English literature at Brown and the University of Illinois before embarking a career in business. He joined the Church Pension Fund in 1966 and retired in 1991.
He is survived by a daughter, Gayllis R. Ward; a son-in-law, James B. Clemence; and a brother, Walter Robinson. Ann Robinson died in 2005.
After learning of Robinson’s death, the Rev. Nathaniel Pierce praised the CPG’s customer service under Robinson’s leadership. Pierce wrote on the House of Bishops/Deputies discussion list and agreed to a request from TLC to publish his remarks. He described attending the St. Louis Congress, at which many priests expressed concern about what would become of their pensions if they left the Episcopal Church.
Fr. Pierce wrote:
Finally, a man was recognized who identified himself as a vice president of the CPF. He announced that there was a team of folks present from the Church Pension Fund to speak individually with each priest who wanted a consultation. The purpose was not to dissuade anyone from leaving, but rather to be sure that every cleric understood the policies and rules of the Fund as they applied to each individual situation.
No one had invited them to attend. No one knew that they were there. They had come simply because they had anticipated that there would be a need. I was very proud of the CPF that day.