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So long "Bill"

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
It’s a sad day! I just heard of the passing of William M. Robinson (82). Most of you did not know "Bill", in fact, it’s likely that none of you did.

Bill, A.K.A. Digger, as many of us around here knew him, had a lifetime rich with skiing. His skiing career started in the 20’s, he was involved in many local and regional amateur-jumping events. If I recall correctly, it was at one of these events and through their mutual involvement with the scouting programs that he met Roger F. Langley. They soon became friends despite the age difference and Bill began to go to skiing events with him. Roger was frequently a judge, or had some other official role at such events because he was president of the National Ski Association.

According to Bill, he was there when the National Ski Patrol was formed. As Bill recalled to me a couple years ago, he had gone to Stowe with Roger to attend the National Downhill and Slalom Championship at Mt. Mansfield in March of 1938. They climbed half way up the Nosedive trail to watch.

Bill recalled the day as quite cold and somewhat windy. He told me that there were deep snowdrifts all along the edge of the trail, which made climbing difficult for spectators. At some point during the race, Minnie Dole approached them. Roger, Bill and Minnie began talking about ski safety. Minnie asked Bill if he had been involved with the Boy Scouts ski safety programs. Minnie, had organized the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol which was present at the race that day.

After a while, Bill’s attention wandered back to the race. Roger and Minnie continued to discuss the Ski Patrol’s function at the race. During this conversation, Roger suggested the formation of a National Ski Patrol Committee, as a subgroup of the National Ski Association and asked Minnie to head it up.

Bill became one of the first patrollers in the system, though at the age of 16, he was too young for official recognition and did not initially receive his number. Later, when WWII began, Bill enlisted in the service. His skiing was put on hold throughout the war. When the first 10th Mountain Division was created, Bill was already enlisted in the Navy of the military.

After the war, Bill settled down and with his young bride, Phyllis and they had a son, William, Jr. He became the undertaker at the Pillsbury Funeral Parlor in Barre, MA and remained in this position until his retirement in 1987. Ironically, one of Bill’s last funerals was that of Roger F. Langley. He said that this funeral was probably one of the most difficult for him in all of the years that he had been undertaker in the town.

When bill returned from the navy he officially re-joined the National Ski Patrol and remained active in it until just a couple years ago. For many years (about 65), he was on ski patrols both at Wachusett Ski Area in Princeton, MA and Pine Ridge Ski Area in Barre, MA as well as some other ski areas prior to Wachusett's opening. When I was a member of the National Ski Patrol he was my Patrol Director. Bill had many stories of skiing in the "good ol days" which he shared with anyone willing to listen. He loved skiing and he loved the National Ski Patrol.

Along with Roger F. Langley, who was the Principal at my elementary school, Bill Robinson was one of my ski mentors. I first met Bill because he and his wife were friends of my parents. Bill set up and fixed many a pair of skis for me during my early years of skiing. He was, despite the age difference, a buddy and a pal as well. I will miss him, but I will forever cherish his memory.

post #2 of 3
Nice post, teachskiljp
we always carry the best of them with us -
post #3 of 3
Yes--nice post! It sounds like Mr. Robinson lived a rich life, and that his memory will live on for a very long time.

Thanks for telling the story.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
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