Clifford John “CJ” Robinson was born March 13, 1937 to Cliff and Helen (Daniels) Robinson. Clifford’s three-year-old brother Dave, could not pronounce his name and called him “Kick”. His grandmother, Alice Robinson, thought his name shouldn’t be mixed up with his father’s name, so she called him C.J. Both names stuck.
C.J. lived in his childhood home all of his life. He began his formal education in a one room schoolhouse which was located at the tip of his parent’s farm. Each day he rode to school on his pony, and each day, on their way home, the pony bucked him off at the mailbox and galloped down the lane.
The obstinate pony was given up for the bus when C.J. went to school in Coggon. CJ loved sports and to say he lived and breathed baseball wouldn’t have been too far off. In later years he could recall almost every important play whether he was on the Silver Creek team, Coggon Rockets or town team. C.J. had waited patiently to play football when it was first offered his senior year and that summer unfortunately broke his leg playing baseball.
C.J. graduated from Coggon in 1955 and went on to Iowa State and continued to be a lifelong Cyclone fan. Following college, he went to Biloxi, Mississippi, where he worked on a plantation, grooming and showing cattle. He had many stories to tell about living during the Civil Rights Movement and how that opened his eyes to injustice he witnessed in the south. He returned home in the spring to help his father and brothers with the farm work. In 1966 his father died and he took over the management of the farm that had been pioneered and passed down by Thomas Robinson to Wesley Robinson to Charles Clifford Robinson. Being the fourth Robinson to carry on the legacy of the farm was done with sincere pride and loyalty. C.J. had a great love for being a cattleman and was a part of the Delaware County Cattleman’s Association.
On October 29, 1966, he married Anita Hepker and to this union, four children were born.
C.J was a lifelong member of the Silver Creek Methodist Church. He was dedicated and loyal to the church, serving in multiple roles. His walk with Jesus began when he was 9 years old. C.J. rarely missed a service at Silver Creek. His children said he often said, “You don’t have to go to church, you get to go to church.”
Mornings on the Robinson Farm started each day with coffee club. Many friends stopped by the kitchen to discuss the crops, weather and neighborhood gossip. Tony Helmrich was the longest member of 35 years to the beloved coffee club. C.J. especially appreciated the friendship and hard work of his neighbor boys, Kasey and Kody Wenger.
In later years C.J. filled his time at Delaware County Conservation. He mowed many parks and Delaware County treasures. He introduced his family to many well hidden black berry patches. To fill the long hours on the mower he sang. Knowing the words to many popular songs as well as hymns, he was known as the singing lawnmower man.
C.J. went to his final home to meet Jesus and be reunited with Anita on October 15, 2019.
C.J. is survived by his four children. Jane Shantz, and her husband Steve of Greenfield, Iowa, their children Jackson, Baley, Keeley and Aryll, Sally Whaley, her husband Donnie of Coralville, and their daughter Mollie; Amanda Wright and her husband Jeremy of Metamora, Illinois and their children Olivia and Spencer; C.J.’s favorite son, Matthew of Masonville and his daughters, Emma, Evalyn and Estelle. He is survived by two brothers Dave and Steve (Judy), sisters-in-law Donna Robinson, Letha Sand, Betty Hepker and brother-in-law Arnie Engelkens, and cousin John Hanson.
He is preceded in death by his wife Anita, parents, Cliff and Helen; brothers, infant Edward, Dan and Paul and brothers-in-law Ed Sand and Jerry Hepker; sisters-in-law Pat Robinson, Mary Lu Robinson and Eileen Engelkens.
His celebration of life will be held at Monti Community Hall, 2854 Washington Avenue, 10 miles west of Ryan. The visitation will be on Friday, October 25, 2019 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The funeral will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. also at the Monti Hall. Please join his family for a meal following the funeral .In lieu of flowers memorials will be dedicated to Camp Courageous and the Anna Purna Ghosh Foundation, a non for profit organization assisting Eastern Iowa cancer patients.