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Keith “Robbie” Robinson, 83, died peacefully in his Kalispell home on July 19, 2019, and the first thing he probably said on the other side was “Clear on the right … pressure’s up!”
Keith was born in Billings on May 2,1936, to Henry and Doris Robinson (both now deceased). After earning his bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Montana in 1958, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and proudly served his country for 22 years, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He specialized in air-traffic control, air operations, maintenance and civil engineering. He navigated KC-135 refueling tankers for SAC during the Vietnam War and other tours of duty. He and his family were stationed in many unique Air Force bases, including a five-year tour in Germany.
After his retirement from the military, Keith returned to his hometown he loved to call “Shangri-La.” He was proud of Kalispell and wanted to preserve its history while embracing the continued growth and progress in the Flathead Valley. He acted on that passion and served over 16 years on the Airport Advisory board, was on the original Boards of the Central School Museum and Rails-to-Trails, served on the Flathead Youth Home board, as well as was active in his Sigma Nu fraternity. He fought hard to preserve the City Airport and once quipped when a funding petition went to the voters, “People get old, but dreams never die.”
Keith’s work ethic was heavily influenced by his father and this past May he was once again proud to present, alongside his son, Kevin, the H.E. Robinson Memorial award to another deserving student who earned the recognition of the faculty for growth in the FFA program. In 2017 he was himself presented with an Honorary Chapter FFA degree.
Keith loved hanging around the racetrack with his many friends as well as at the Kalispell Regional Hospital cafeteria, a second family to him as well. He was also an avid photographer. He was known for his quick wit, infectious smile and his kind and compassionate spirit.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his partner Annie Robinson (Stafford).
He is survived by his children who he affectionately liked to call “by the numbers: #1 Kevin (Laura) Robinson; daughters #2 Wendy Challberg and #3 Kelly Jo (Brian) Wallace. He was “Grumpa Keith” to Shelby Challberg, Kayla Robinson, Katie Rivera, Tanner Wallace and Blake Wallace and always made sure to include his signature “duck confetti” in his cards.
Thank you to all his friends, neighbors and colleagues whose friendship made Keith’s life forever enriched. A special thank you to his caregivers, especially Laura Robinson for her selfless, tender care of Keith the past few months.
A celebration of life will be held at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a tribute donation to the Kalispell Senior Center or charity of your choice.
Friends are encouraged to visit our website at www.buffalohillfh.com to leave notes of condolences for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory caring for the family.