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Richard Robinson

Dr. Richard W. Robinson passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family in hospice care at Geneva General Hospital on Friday, March 22. He was almost 94 years old. Richard (Dick) was born on April 14, 1930, to Myron and Mary Robinson in Los Angeles.

Calling hours will be Friday, (April 5), from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at DeVaney-Bennett Funeral Home, 181 N. Main Street, Geneva. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, (April 6) at 1 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 340 S. Main Street, Geneva.

Memorial contributions can be made to Geneva Public Library, 244 Main St, Geneva, NY 14456, Cornell University or to your favorite charity. Dick graduated from the University of California Davis with a BS degree in Plant Science in 1952 and a MS degree in Vegetable Crops in 1953. He received his Ph.D. in 1962 from Cornell University in Plant Breeding & Genetics. He served in the Army from 1953 to 1955 in Utah and was honorably discharged. It was there that he developed a love of camping.

In 1961 Dick was employed by Cornell University as a Research Specialist at the NY State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva (now Cornell AgriTech) as a plant breeder of tomatoes. He became Assistant Professor in 1962 and full professor in 1977. Over the years Dick developed an interest in breeding squash, cucumbers, lettuce and eggplants. He released varieties such as New Yorker and Nova for tomatoes, Whitaker for squash, Saladcrisp and Onondaga for lettuce. He shared his breeding lines with private seed companies, and they are still being used worldwide for research. Scientists and students came from several countries such as Poland, France, India and China to do research with him. He was a contributor to both the Cucurbit and Tomato Genetics Cooperatives for many years and authored several books and published many scientific articles. He spent his sabbatical leaves in Davis and La Jolla, CA, Gainesville, FL and Wageningen, Holland. Over the years several graduate students came to work with him, the last one in 1999 from China. Dick retired after 40 years in 2000 and was appointed by Cornell University Professor Emeritus. He kept working for another 8 years because he enjoyed his work so much.

Dick was instrumental in establishing the Geneva Early Childcare Center and served as their secretary. He married his wife Inge in Germany, and they celebrated 61 years of happy marriage on March 15. Dick and Inge enjoyed traveling to many different countries. He also liked reading, gardening, camping, and doing activities with his children and grandchildren. He helped take care of the kids' horse every morning before going to work. He built outdoor play equipment and a homemade small train and enjoyed pulling 2 generations of kids on it around the backyard. Dick was always gardening after work and had a small greenhouse where he grew annuals for transplanting. He planted a beautiful field of daffodils in the horse pasture that we still enjoy today.

He is survived by his devoted wife Inge; daughters Susan (Edward) Powell and Sandra (Daniel) Hey; and grandchildren Michael, Jennifer, Jasmine and Kyle.

He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Donald.

We are thankful for the wonderful care by Dr. Alexander Baez, MD and the nursing staff of Geneva General Hospital.