James Hendry Robinson, M.D., 87, of Wilmington passed away June 24, 2022. He was born January 19, 1935 in Clinton, North Carolina to the late Albert Grady and Moye Mercer Robinson. He was predeceased by his son, James Hendry “Chip” Robinson, Jr., his brothers, Robert Edmund Robinson and Albert Grady Robinson, Jr., his sister-in-law, Rose McLean Whitesides, and his nephew, Henry Monroe Whitesides, Jr.
Jim was a graduate of Clinton High School, Class of 1953, and Davidson College, Class of 1957, where he was a member of the wrestling team and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. During a college summer, he worked at Montreat, the Presbyterian retreat in the North Carolina mountains, and met and fell in love with a Montreat summer resident, Nancy “Toppy” McLean of Gastonia. They married in 1958, and began their blessed journey together of life, love, family, work and Christian service. Jim then attended the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Class of 1961, while Toppy taught school in Durham before having their first child, Chip. Jim and Toppy then went to Danville, Pennsylvania (where Bert was born) for Jim’s internship at Geisinger Memorial Hospital. Jim served in the U.S. Army, Retired Reserve. Jim and Toppy returned to Chapel Hill for Jim’s residency in anesthesiology, then moved to Wilmington in 1964, where Leslie was born three years later. They were grateful for the warm reception by the community as Jim established the first anesthesiology practice in Wilmington at James Walker Memorial Hospital, where he practiced until 1967, then moved to the newly established New Hanover Memorial Hospital (now Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center) and formed Wilmington Anesthesiologists. Jim practiced anesthesiology for 34 years, retiring in 1998. He enjoyed working with his colleagues, staff and patients, providing care through the years, and becoming a much beloved figure in the medical community and among his patients, who often lovingly recounted that “Dr. Robinson put me to sleep.” He was a member of the American Medical Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, the New Hanover-Pender Medical Society, and numerous other professional associations.
In addition to his professional excellence and leadership, Jim was known for his staunch devotion to his family, his uncomplaining perseverance through early-onset arthritis, his grace, wisdom, humility, dry wit, and his twinkle-eyed, mischievous sense of humor. He had a strong love for and faith in God, and was an active member of First Presbyterian Church. He served multiple terms as an Elder, a Deacon, and committee chairman. Jim served on numerous community boards, including two terms as President of the Board of Directors of Good Shepherd Center, and was instrumental in the establishment of the overnight shelter, the Day Center and the Second Helpings program. Jim and Toppy enjoyed their memberships in the Carolina Yacht Club, Surf Club, and Cape Fear Country Club. They enjoyed attending their children’s school and extracurricular activities, regularly entertaining their friends in their homes in Wilmington and Montreat, and serving in the church and community. Jim especially enjoyed teaching Chip and Bert to hunt and fish as he had been privileged to do while growing up in Clinton, and they partook in an annual hunting trip with friends in the Virginia mountains for many years. Following Jim’s retirement, Jim and Toppy would extend their annual Montreat visits into long summer seasons, graciously hosting family and friends to stay and enjoy Montreat’s holy beauty. Jim delighted in his role as “Pop” to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and dispensed many words of wisdom and hugs of love and affection through the years.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of nearly 64 years, Nancy “Toppy” McLean Robinson of the home; son, Albert Lynn Robinson (Lucy) of Wilmington; daughter, Leslie Robinson Morris (Joe) of Asheville; daughter-in-law (Chip’s widow), Robin Wicks Robinson of Wilmington; sister, Kathryn Robinson Holder (Tom) of Aiken, South Carolina; and brother, Redmond Mercer Robinson (Doris) of Winterville. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren: Alexandria Robinson Wilson and her children, Grey, Paige, and Charlotte Wilson, all of New Bern; McLean Gardner Robinson of Wilmington; Graham Kent Robinson and Jane Kathryn Robinson of Charlotte; James Hendry Robinson III of Raleigh; Wallace Katherine McLean Robinson of Wilmington; and James Robinson (“Jack”) Morris and Michael Joseph Morris of Asheville. He is also survived by Toppy’s brother, L.L. McLean, Jr. (Suzanne) and his family, and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and friends.
A Service of Witness to the Resurrection and Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29 at First Presbyterian Church. The service will be preceded by a private Committal Service in the Columbarium Memorial Garden at 1:30 p.m.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28 at the home, 1903 Brookhaven Road. Memorials to Dr. Robinson may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 125 S. Third Street, Wilmington, NC 28401, or Montreat Conference Center, P.O. Box 969, Montreat, NC, 28757, or to a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements by Andrews Mortuary. Condolences may be left at www.andrewsmortuary.com.