Matthew Robinson had every reason to be loving life.

Mr. Robinson, 31, was a skilled painter from Portland and owner of a growing business, M.R. Paint. He worked as a subcontractor for numerous local businesses such as Foreside Real Estate Management and Dirigo Property Management. He was also a talented musician, who played the trumpet and drums and was known and respected by many in Portland’s music scene.

Mr. Robinson died unexpectedly Sunday. The state Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy, but test results were inconclusive. Further tests will be done to determine how he died.

Mr. Robinson’s family and friends struggled this week to understand how a man who had such a promising life ahead of him could die so suddenly.

“We don’t know what happened,” said his sister, Jennifer Borland of Portland. “There’s no indication. There is no physical trauma and no evidence of drug use or that it’s self-inflicted. We are really grasping here. Hopefully, the state will figure out what happened.”

Mr. Robinson grew up in Portland, a son of David and Gail Robinson, and graduated from Deering High School in 2001. He attended the University of Southern Maine and Southern Maine Community College, but left school to pursue a passion for painting. He worked for numerous organizations such as the South Portland Housing Authority, Avesta Housing and Dirigo Property Management.


Jeff Martin, president and owner of Foreside Real Estate Management, said Mr. Robinson was meticulous about his work and worked hard to make customers happy. Mr. Robinson recently talked to him about expanding the business and possibly merging with his company.

“At such a young age, he understood there was more to life,” Martin said. “He was very spiritual and knew he had a role in the community. I respected that. …He affected a lot of people. He wasn’t just a vendor. He wasn’t just a guy you called. He really cared about the work he did.”

Mr. Robinson started his own business, M.R. Paint, about six years ago. His father emphasized how professional he was.

“Had he continued in painting, he would have had a reputation in the Greater Portland area as being the person to hire for a perfect job,” his father said. “Matthew was absolutely meticulous. You would be in pain watching him, but it would be perfect.”

Mr. Robinson was also known for his musical abilities. In high school, he played the trumpet and drums in a band called “The Taxi’s,” which performed in bars and other venues in the Portland area. He also filled in for musicians in other bands. His father said he could read music, but could play by ear. He used to practice the drums in the third floor of his house, and also played the trumpet at his grandparents’ cottage on Highland Lake.

“The sound sails over the water,” his father said. “He is playing and suddenly there are some boats showing up to hear him play. It was a passion. When he was playing, he was very happy and very explicit in his hand signals or whatever.”


Mr. Robinson had a close relationship with his family, including his three nieces. His sister said he was a great brother and uncle and a loyal friend to many people.

“My brother was an amazing young man,” she said. “There were days that weren’t good for him. There were days he had a rough go at life, personally. But, he managed to focus himself on his business or his music and he loved my children. …I don’t know if he ever realized how much he was loved by, not just his family, but by his friends and co-workers and the community.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]

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