Edward A. Robinson

SOUTH PORTLAND – Edward Anthony Robinson, brother, uncle, friend, educator, philosopher, and gardener, passed away on April 20, 2020 after a short but courageous battle with cancer. He was 79.Ed died peacefully surrounded by family in the home of his beloved niece in South Portland, the music of Pavarotti played as the sunlit room dimmed and he took his last breath. Prior to his death, Ed wanted people to know he was filled with love and joy and that his life was a blessed one. Ed cherished all who had a chance to speak with him or send messages in his final days, and sent deep affection to others he knew would only learn later of his swift passing. The eldest of six children born to Professor Edward Anthony Robinson and Maud Eva (née McSweeney) Robinson, Ed was born on Sept. 12, 1940, in the Bronx, N.Y. The family later moved to nearby Yonkers where Ed spent much of his childhood. Aspiring to the priesthood, Ed attended Glenclyffe Seminary and High School in Garrison, N.Y. After graduation, Ed went on to the novitiate in Milton, Mass. for investiture into The Capuchin Franciscan Order. In 1963, he received a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Anthony Friary in Hudson, N.H., which he followed with a M.S. in Theology from St. Mary Immaculate Friary in Garrison. In 1966, Ed was ordained to the Catholic priesthood at Sacred Heart Church in Yonkers.Ed spent most of his priesthood ministering in the western Pacific islands of Guam and Saipan. In the late 1970s, Ed chose to pursue a secular life, first in California and later in Maine. Edward loved to fall in love and was blessed with marriages to three special women, all of whom can vouch for his charm and tenderness as well his more impossible contours. In Cape Elizabeth and throughout Greater Portland, Ed worked for decades as a landscape gardener, arborist, and creator of “beautiful vistas.” He was a keeper of bees, botanist, philosophy scholar, pontificator of politics, flower distributor, opera lover, and friend to all dogs. A teacher of horticulture and philosophy at Southern Maine Community College as part of his career in education, he was a mentor to many. Though Ed left the priesthood, he never abandoned his spirituality or religious studies. Later in life, he found a home with the Quaker community at the Portland Friends Meeting, where he worshipped and created many deep friendships.Edward is survived by his five younger siblings, Liz Smith, Richard Robinson, Meg Robinson (Bob Neff), Marty Robinson, and John Robinson (Eva); cousin, Sandy MacDonald; foster daughter, April Crocket and her family; five nieces and nine nephews; as well as grandnieces, grandnephews, and countless cousins.In his own words, Ed was “happy as a lark” when gardening, a kind of work that allowed him to day dream, one of his primary passions. A true Franciscan, Ed loved the natural world more than its material counterpart and as “Ye Faithful Gardener,” both the name of his business and an ethos exuded, Ed found beauty wherever he looked and shared that passion with all those he met throughout his life. He would listen to anyone who had a story to tell and he had a story for anyone willing to listen. While many facts of Ed’s life are known, much more remains obscured in what the family has come to know as “Edlore”. His antics were infamous, joy infectious, stubbornness infuriating, and stories legendary. That indelible laugh and his sense of wonder mean his absence leaves a great void impossible to fill. Edward was given the “green burial” he desired on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The dirt he loved and to the dirt he was returned. It was Earth Day.

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