Hundreds gather to celebrate life of White Rock councillor

Hundreds gather to celebrate life of White Rock councillor

WHITE ROCK — It was standing room only at the White Rock Community Centre Monday as hundreds of friends, family and well-wishers came together to celebrate the life of the late councillor Larry Robinson.

Indeed, it was the sound of laughter that rang loudest that afternoon, as individuals from all aspects of Robinson’s life took to the podium to recount their unique stories of the clearly beloved council member.

Robinson passed away March 15 after a long battle with cancer.

Hosted by White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin, the event was a celebration of Robinson’s life rather than a mourning, and gave those in attendance a glimpse of how Robinson came to be the man he was.

However, before the speakers took to the microphone, Robinson’s spirit was honoured by Joanne Charles, a councillor for the Semiahmoo First Nation. With two songs to mark Robinson’s passing, Charles said the first was a prayer song for his family while the second was an eagle song to ensure his spirit flew high and far.

A series of speakers then took to the mic, sharing their personal stories of Robinson, painting an image of an honest, passionate man who could be masterfully technical in his research and knowledge, and wonderfully artistic in his own right.

There was the time when Robinson and some coworkers from his Air Canada days decided to hold an impromptu barbeque up on a loading platform at an airport, resulting in him later bribing the responding RCMP officers with hamburgers to let them be.

Or how about when Robinson tricked his long time friend, Irv Tremblay, into signing up for a 60 km cross-country ski race that ended with them both being stuck on a highway in -25 degree weather hitchhiking home. Tremblay said Robinson just wanted to see him suffer.

“He was kind of sick like that,” Tremblay laughed.

Coun. Louise Hutchinson talked about running alongside Robinson during the 2011 municipal election, and recalled asking why he didn’t advertise that he was a realtor.

“Realtors don’t get elected,” was his reply.

Many of Robinson’s family members were also present, including his two sons, his two brothers and his parents.

Jesse Robinson, who bore a striking resemblance to his father, took to the podium and reminisced about his dad’s booming laugh and infectious positivity.

Robinson’s ex-wife, Linda Baker, joked about a man’s worst nightmare coming to pass when she stood alongside his current wife, Ann, at the foot of Robinson’s bed while he was too ill to escape.

Jokes aside, Baker said moving to White Rock with Robinson was one of the best decisions they ever made, “and a look around the room would prove him right.”

Baldwin also paid tribute to the mark Robinson will leave at the council table, noting his honesty and opinions were often backed up by meticulous research. Baldwin also thanked the city’s “shadow council” from the coffee shop Robinson frequented.

And despite only being on council for two years, it was clear by the turnout that Robinson’s mark on the community would be felt for quite some time.

To cap off the event, Robinson’s friends and family went outside and released a group of white balloons into the air, mimicking what the former real estate agent would do at the end of every open house.

The crowd stood and watched as the balloon released by Robinson’s widow, Ann, strayed from the others and flew off in its own direction.

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