PORTLAND — James M. Robbins, 78, died on July 29, surrounded by his family, at Maine Medical Center following a brief illness.

Robbins was born in Portland on May 9, 1935, the son of Henry and Gertrude Ross Robbins. He graduated from Portland High School, class of 1954. He then attended Portland Junior College and the University of Maine at Orono, studying engineering. He worked for 35 years at E.C. Jordan Engineering Company and was a licensed land surveyor.

He retired from the City of Portland as the chief archivist in 2005.

Robbins was a devoted family man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was an avid reader and consumed knowledge with a voracious appetite. He especially loved history, and was a member of the Joshua Chamberlain Knights of the Round Table. His sharp wit and enthusiasm for knowledge made him a great conversationalist.

He was a skilled carpenter and his projects adorn the homes of friends and family. He built a wooden boat in 1972, which became the focus of many summer outings and which the family still uses and treasures. He was a lifelong fisherman and shared his passion with his daughters, nephews and friends. His fishing stories were surprisingly truthful, but invariably hilarious. He was communicant of Saint Pius X Roman Catholic Church and served on the parish council. He showed remarkable tenacity and patience when faced with a dilemma and would persevere to find the solution. He was a man upon whom you could rely and trust.

Robbins was predeceased by his parents; a son, Joseph Robbins; and a sister, Maryann Dinsmore.

He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Sharon Kelly Robbins; two daughters, Judy Robbins and Jean Robbins Fearing and her husband, Stephen; two grandsons, Caleb and Gabriel Shields; many nieces and nephews and his dog, Sammy.

A memorial mass was celebrated Saturday at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, 492 Ocean Ave., Portland, followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery, in South Portland. Those who wish may make contributions in Robbins’ memory to his grandson’s preschool: Children’s Odyssey, PO Box 6038, Falmouth, ME 04105

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