In Memory

Stephen L. Robinson

Stephen L. Robinson

Deceased Classmate: Stephen L. Robinson
Date Deceased: 11-07-1915
Age at Death: 69
Cause of Death: cancer
Classmate City: Martha's Vineyard
Classmate State: MA
Classmate Country: USA
Was a Veteran: No
Survived By: Linda Zarro

Here is his obit. He will be missed.  Supplied by Edward Herlihy.

Stephen L. Robinson, longtime Vineyard resident and Island real estate broker, died peacefully at home on Sunday, Nov. 8, surrounded and cared for by family and friends following a multi-year engagement with prostate cancer. He was 69. Stephen lived life to the fullest. Outgoing and known for his enthusiastic energy, Stephen’s standard was the bold Hawaiian shirt that matched his outsized personality. He was beloved by many and known for his warmth, vibrant embrace of life, love of music, love of food, and boisterous laughter. In addition to his love of family,

Stephen’s passions were real estate and travel. Raised in Arlington, Stephen spent his early summers at the family cottage in Essex, before transferring his allegiance to the Vineyard and his family’s cottage “The Cricket” in the Oak Bluffs Camp Ground, where his grandparents also resided. From his earliest days, Stephen passionately took to the water, learning to swim, sail small boats, and canoe, and spending his summers exploring the beaches and marshes near Crane Beach. As a Boy Scout, the weeks he spent at Camp Sachem in New Hampshire helped him establish his life-long habits of thoroughly mastering any subject that commanded his attention and being a confident explorer of new ideas and new places. Appropriately, Stephen’s first job on the Vineyard as a 16-year-old was as a beach boy at the East Chop Beach Club, where his deliberate and thorough approach in executing his duties earned him the nickname of Flash.

During his next Vineyard summer, he explored the inner workings of the kitchen operations at Giordano’s Restaurant. Following a year of engineering studies at the University of Massachusetts, the spirit of the times and Stephen’s zest drew him to the 1968 world of San Francisco where he furthered his education through his work at the music store Music Five. Later he ventured to Mexico, where he developed an import business that focused on hand-crafted embroidered and woven clothing then in vogue. Embracing change in the early 1970s, Stephen traveled to Alaska aboard a school bus where he established himself in a Fairbanks log cabin. Working as an emergency fire fighter for the Bureau of Land Management, he traveled extensively to the most remote native outposts. Heating his cabin with a wood stove and using the permafrost as his refrigerator in the summers, he labored at a sawmill and later on the Alaskan Railroad. Beginning in 1974 he contributed to the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. As a Teamster, among his other duties, he drove heavy trucks north of the Yukon River during the summer and winter months while living in the construction camps at Big Delta and Old Man.

Following the completion of the pipeline, Stephen returned to the Vineyard in 1979,where he bought his first home in Vineyard Haven and embarked upon his long career in Island real estate. Over the years he was affiliated with various real estate offices including Ocean Park, Island, Harborside and most recently at ReMax. He became a devoted student of residential real estate, amassing an encyclopedic knowledge ranging from design and construction techniques to the intimate geography of the Vineyard. Stephen also maintained a deep trove of Vineyard history and lore. In general he took great pleasure in helping people with a wide range of issues and was a stickler for detailed accuracy. Stephen particularly loved to impart his knowledge with visitors to the Island. As a real estate broker he derived his most professional satisfaction when he could help Islanders find affordable homes and solve the problems that posed barriers to their purchase of a home.

In addition to the Vineyard, Stephen’s great passion was traveling with the love of his life Linda Carmen Zarro, a true soul mate. Stephen and Linda met on the Vineyard and married in 1989 at Harthaven’s bluff. Stephen and Linda were particularly drawn to the Caribbean Islands. Over the years they explored Anguilla, Antigua, Jamaica, Grenada, Carriacou, St. Martin, Nevis, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Tobago Key, Union Island, Mayreau, Mustique, St. Vincent, and Bequia in the Grenadines. They also traveled extensively in Europe and South America.

Stephen was born on August 7, 1946 at the Murphy Army Hospital in Waltham. His parents met and married during the American wartime occupation of Italy. His mother, Silvana Rigacci Robinson, was a native of Florence, and his father, Arthur Edward (Robbie) Robinson Jr. was a GI from Arlington stationed in that city.

In addition to his wife Linda Carmen Zarro, Stephen is survived by his step daughter Zoey Zarro Rawlins, her husband Benjamin Reese, and grandson Thurston A. Reese; his mother Silvana Robinson; and his brothers Gregory, David, Andrew, and Daniel Robinson, in addition to many nieces and nephews, as well as a host of friends. An Island gathering to celebrate Stephen’s life will be held at a future date to be announced. In remembrance of Stephen’s life donations may be made to the Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard,, and the Cancer Support Group of Martha’s Vineyard, Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.


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11/18/15 07:11 PM #1    

Cynthia J Barr (Bigley)

You left us early, but you absolutely lived life while you were here..bless you and your family

11/19/15 01:04 PM #2    

Nelson R. Capes

Sorry to hear of Steven's passing. We were in physics lab together and enjoyed a great reunion in Arlington last fall.


11/19/15 10:51 PM #3    

Timothy W. Young

My condolences to Stephen's family. I have many great memories scouting with Stephen in troop 308 at Pleasant Street Congregational Church. He was a character, a very good one.

11/22/15 09:05 PM #4    

James W. Byam

Sorry to hear Stephen's passing.  We had good times at Camp Sachem.

11/23/15 12:31 PM #5    

Ron Pierce

Ten years ago—fifteen at the outside—when we were all in high school, when Miss Rounds was still holding court with her busts of Caesar and Cicero, and Mr. Coombs was passing out beat-up chemistry books, and Miss Krastin was being her wonky wonderful self, and Coach Burns and Buddy Clarke and Bobby Carr and Dick Decaprio and Billy Langone owned all the ice rinks in Eastern Massachusetts, Allen Jokinen, who lived on Venner right behind my house on Brunswick, would come up my house not too much after 7:00 each school morning.

         We’d head up Hillsdale together, past the entrance to Menotomy Rocks Park and then along Jason until we got to Stephen’s house. I’m not going to swear to it, but I’m pretty sure it was 107 Jason. (I’m also pretty sure I could still rattle off his phone number.) If it was raining or cold, we’d be up the steps quick and inside. We didn’t knock. We were friends. We’d been friends since Cub Scouts, our meetings usually down at the Jason Russell House, where Nelson Capes’s folks were our Den Parents, and Roddy Cook’s mom was Our Assistant Den Mother.

         Stephen would usually be washing down a last slice of toast with the rest of his orange juice, so that Allen and I would talk to his beautiful mother Silvana, pet Figaro, or kid around with his dad, Robbie, who had been our Scout Master, Troop 308, taking us up Camp Ted and Camp Oak dozens of times.

         Stephen would grab up his jacket and a couple of books, tell us to get the lead out, and we’d be out the door heading for Teddy Herlihy’s up near the top of Bartlett. Teddy, God love him, would always be ready. And we’d head down Bartlett toward Mass. Ave., usually four abreast if there was no traffic, cracking jokes, kicking leaves, chucking snowballs, elbowing each other just for the heck of it, and assuming none of that would ever change.

         To look through the long lens that has been the meandering years since is to see that small taken-for-granted morning walk for the surpassingly beautiful ballet it was.

         We were friends, the four of us, back when being friends was as natural and easy as playing hockey under the lights up Hills Pond or in spring just sitting on one of the benches, chucking pebbles into the water, and shooting the merry little breezes.

        Nelson, too, and Timmy Young, and Jimmy Byam, John Troike, and Richard Bonzagni.  We climbed the 4,000 footers up New Hampshire. We panned for gold on the Swift River in Maine. Stephen and Harry Williams and I worked for Robbie in his apartment buildings on the backside of Beacon Hill.

      I am thankful for having known all those boys when they and I were boys. They are a part of who I am. We all knew from very early on Stephen was a person who loved the sheer exhilaration of being alive. You could not help but feel lifted in his company. On one of the camping trips up Camp Ted, once we had our tents up, I remember Stephen calling out to Jimmy, using his name for him, grinning “Come on, Bama-Salama, me and you got firewood detail!” And Jimmy grinned as much as the rest of us, glad to be part of the exuberance that Stephen brought to everything he did.

     I saw in a movie once that everyone lives on past physical demise until the last person who knew him or her says his or her name for the last time. I believe that to be true. It is not much comfort, but it is some comfort that there are so many of us who enjoyed Stephen’s friendship and who will be around yet a while to name him by his name and thus keep him with us.

11/23/15 11:45 PM #6    

Allen J. Jokinen

So sorry to hear about Stephen's passing. Ron Pierce's entry perfectly describes our friendship with Stephen. At the 50th reunion, Stephen and I had a few good laughs. I got to meet his lovely wife. Deepest condolences to his family.

11/24/15 08:25 PM #7    

Carmen Bourget (Lysaght)

What a wonderful tribute Ronald. Makes me wish that I knew him. We had such a large class, no way to know everyone. My condolences to his family.

11/25/15 01:39 PM #8    

H. Jean Herzog (Murray)

Wonderful tribute to our classmate.  Although I didn't know him personally, Ron's story allowed me to feel like I did.  Condolences to his family and friends.

11/26/15 05:41 PM #9    

Sandra K. Haywood (Sealock)

I didn't know Stephen that well either, but all the entries bring back memories of

 the two years I spent at Parmenter school.  I was only in the 5th and 6th grades, so I didn't get know everyone that well, but Ron's comments bring back names and  places that make me feel like I'm back home. Those were good years. Rest in peace Stephen.       


11/26/15 09:48 PM #10    

Joan Clarke (Stack)

What a beautiful trbute by Ron Pearce.  Brought tears to my eyes to remember the simplicity of those days and of our youth.  Thank you Ron.  And what a remarkable obituary of Stephen.  I did not know him personally, at least I do not think I knew him.  Condolences and prayers for his family and his AHS friends.  The bonds of friendship, based on common memories and our shared youth, grow ever stronger and more important every day now.  Blessings to everyone, the class of 1964.  From your classmate, Joan Clarke Stack 

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