Carl Robinson was remembered by his loved ones Thursday as a kind, honest and helpful guy, who could easily connect with people.

Mr. Robinson, of Standish, embraced a variety of interests throughout his life. He was a carpenter, a teacher, and a driver’s education instructor. He was a ham radio operator and a talented musician, who could sing and play the piano. He played until a couple of years ago, when his fingers stopped working like they used to.

Mr. Robinson died Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 87.

“He was a jack of all trades and a master of none,” said his daughter, Nancy O’Donnell, of Houston, Texas. “He was smart. He knew stuff. He could talk to anyone.”

Mr. Robinson left Westbrook High School at age 17 to join the Navy. He served during World War II aboard the USS Pickins, USS Columbia, USS Chandeleur and USS Minos. When he returned home, he finished high school and later graduated from Chicago Technical Institute.

In his early years, Mr. Robinson worked as a carpenter and spent time in the family business, O.G.K. Robinson, formerly located on Fitch Street in Westbrook.

Next, he spent a couple of years as a vocational teacher at Westbrook High School. O’Donnell said one of his proudest accomplishments as a teacher was helping students build a full-scale residential home on a private lot. She said the house is still standing today.

“He was the first person in the state to do something like that,” his daughter said. “We believe the first person in the country.”

Another hallmark of Mr. Robinson’s life was his family. He was a loving husband of Elaine Robinson, of Standish. He died just hours before their 55th wedding anniversary, which was Wednesday.

“They had a great life,” O’Donnell said. “He definitely loved her and she loved him and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Robinsons raised two children. O’Donnell said he was always there for them.

“He taught us a lot of things …important things like how to take care of a garden, fix a car, or what we need in our trunks,” she said. “He encouraged our interests. He prepared us well for life. We were very lucky to have had a dad who was always there. He was the guy that would pick us up at 11 or midnight. He was reliable. He was always there to back you up.”

Mr. Robinson had a lifelong passion for music. He sang and played the piano until he was 85 years old. He played briefly for audiences, and mostly in churches. O’Donnell said her father had terrible stage freight, but he never gave up playing.

“Music was very soothing to him,” his daughter said.

Mr. Robinson was also a licensed radio operator maintaining the call letters KA1KAX. He was a member of Stephen W. Manchester Post No. 62 of the American Legion in Westbrook. He also enjoyed traveling with his wife to Costa Rica and wintering in Florida for the past 20 years.

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

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