Mary Lucy Robinson (née Ruggiero)
24 December 1932–13 April 2021
Lucy Robinson, who has died in her 89th year, was a bright, loving and inspirational human being who devoted her life to nurturing others.
Born in Port Colborne, Ontario, she was the daughter of hard-working Italian immigrants. A survivor of childhood polio, she excelled at every subject she undertook in high school, and went on to graduate at the top of her class at St Michael's Hospital School of Nursing in 1955.
She chose not to pursue a career, instead marrying Floyd Robinson, a newly-qualified mathematics teacher who had been enamoured by her beauty and exceptional intelligence. A relationship that began in a romantic haze evolved, over the course of their 68 years together, into a mutually supportive union that enabled each of them to become their deepest and truest possible self.
Lucy found fulfilment in applying herself wholeheartedly to homemaking and being a wonderful mother and grandmother to their four children and five grandchildren. She also proved an invaluable helpmate and sounding-board for Floyd as he built a distinguished career in education. After living in many cities throughout Canada, they settled at their rural home near Burk's Falls, Ontario in 1972.
Always encouraging to others and appreciative of their special talents, Lucy will be remembered for her kind and considerate nature, her generosity, her ingenuity, her tenacity and her beaming smile. On countless occasions she disrupted her own life to go to a family member in need, and could always be relied upon to give thoughtful input into any problem large or small. Less frequently revealed was a fierce inner steel that only came to the fore when she perceived some threat to those she loved.
But of her many qualities, probably the most extraordinary was her instinctive affinity with young children. Building upon her natural mothering talent, she became an advocate of early childhood development, and designed games and methods for stimulating intellectual growth in her preschool children that were considered ahead of their time by professionals in the field. She later studied for an ECE qualification, once again graduating with top marks. Her skills were utilised to great effect at the Gingham Dog Nursery School in Burk's Falls, which she ran from 1979 to 1985. The school was identified by the Ontario Ministry of Education as the best child stimulation program in the region during that time.
She grew old with grace and good humour, remaining active and engaged until a sudden decline in November 2020 led to a diagnosis of advanced kidney cancer. She was able to spend her final months at home, thanks in large part to her own strength of character and constant support from daughter Marjorie, granddaughter Pensa and son-in-law Kevin.
Buoyant to the last, she treated each new day as a gift and as ever, found the greatest joy in the small things. Just a few days before she died, she was thrilled to spot the first moose of Spring in the field on their property, and to be presented with a bouquet of pussy willows freshly-cut from the adjacent marsh.
Upon hearing of her death, a lifelong friend commented that her 'smiling' voice had never seemed to change over the years, and that it was sad to know it has been stilled. She is survived by Floyd, daughters Donna, Marjorie and Andrea, and five grandchildren. She was predeceased by son Michael in 2019.
In accordance with Lucy's wishes there will be no visitation or formal funeral. Her final hope was that those who knew her should retain good thoughts and happy memories, and know that she was thankful to Floyd for sharing a wonderful life.
Her life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d in her, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, ‘This was a Mother!’
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