LeRoy Robbins

LeRoy Robbins

LeRoy Robbins


LeRoy Robbins, 95, of Solon, beloved father, Papa, uncle and friend, died peacefully on March 30, 2023, with family by his side. Visitation will be Sunday, April 2, 2023, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories Stateroom. The funeral service will be held at First Lutheran Church at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 3, followed by lunch and fellowship. A livestream of the funeral service may be viewed at https://firstlutherancr.online.church/. Burial service with Military Honors will be at Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton at 2 p.m. Monday.

Survivors include children Greg (John) Robbins, Chris (Sharon) Robbins, Jeff (April Johnson) Robbins, Robyn (Ken Urban) Robbins, Michelle Krapfl and Michael (Denise) Robbins; and grandchildren Caleb Robbins, Noah Robbins, Caitlin (Andy) Thompson-Smith, Walker Thompson, Alyson Krapfl, Blake Krapfl, Mikaela Robbins and Nicholas Robbins.

LeRoy was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Marcella and Nadine, his son-in-law Bob and many dear friends. LeRoy was born on a farm in the Vinton-Shellsburg area on June 27, 1927, the oldest child of Marion and Leatha (Jones) Robbins. He acquired his steadfast work ethic growing up working on the farm during the Great Depression. Like many of his generation, he learned the values of frugality and resourcefulness out of necessity.

LeRoy graduated from Vinton High School in 1945. He married Donna Saunders in April 1949. They farmed in the Vinton-Urbana area until LeRoy was drafted into the Marine Corps in December 1951. He was stationed at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, and they lived in southern California until his discharge in 1954. During his time in the Marines, LeRoy served as an MP, oversaw the gun range and signed up for a secret mission, Operation Tumbler-Snapper. This was a series of nuclear weapons tests in the desert of Nevada in 1952 witnessing the detonation of an atomic bomb from less than 3 miles away and then conducting maneuvers near ground-zero.

LeRoy and Donna returned to Iowa and started a family. Four children were born from this union, Greg Chris, Jeff and Robyn. LeRoy and Donna divorced in 1973. In 1974 he married Linda Hansen Robbins. LeRoy, gained two children from this marriage, Michelle and Michael. LeRoy and Linda divorced in 1991. In 1979 he moved to his acreage south of Shueyville on the Coralville Reservoir where LeRoy lived until the time of his death.

He graduated from Coe College in 1959 with a degree in Biochemistry. He was employed by St. Luke’s Hospital from 1959 until his retirement in 1994. He started his career as a medical technologist and eventually served as director of the Clinical Laboratory at St. Luke’s. He oversaw the installation and operation of the hospital’s first mainframe computer in the early 1970s.

After retiring from St. Luke’s, LeRoy maintained an active lifestyle and satisfied his need to be a lifelong learner. He volunteered as a mediator for the Linn County Small Claims Court for many years. He enjoyed helping parties come to an agreeable settlement of their issues without having to take it to court. He also took classes through the Johnson County Extension Office and earned his Master Gardener accreditation, growing his bountiful vegetable garden, grapes, blueberries and orchard along with countless trees, flowers and other plants. He made his own wine, maple syrup, deer jerky and canned a variety of jams, jellies, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. He was proud of the koi pond he built off his back deck and got a lot of enjoyment feeding his fish. LeRoy loved building things in his large workshop and always had more than one project going.

Family was important to LeRoy, and he loved to spend time with his kids, grandchildren and a large extended family of nieces/nephews and their children. He was very proud of each of his grandchildren, and he attended many of their ball games, concerts, and other activities.

LeRoy enjoyed Iowa Hawkeye football and the men’s and women’s basketball teams. He attended many games at Kinnick Stadium, and we were so glad to be able to get him there for one last game on Oct. 9, 2021, when Iowa beat Penn State in one of the loudest, most exciting games in Hawkeye history.

He had close friends and neighbors who became part of his extended family. Without the friendship and support of his many great neighbors, friends and support teams who helped LeRoy maintain his life in his longtime home, he would not been able to spend the quality time at home with the people that mattered the most to him the last few months. He received excellent care at UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital prior to his death. Special thanks to the 6th floor pulmonary unit and Hospice staff who helped LeRoy pass with dignity.

Flowers may be sent to Cedar Memorial. Memorial donations may be directed to the St. Luke’s Foundation and/or Coe College.

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