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Thomas Francis Robinson was born in Darby, PA on January 15, 1934 to Alice (nee Staunton) and Thomas Robinson. The story goes that Alice was pushing Nancy, Tom’s older sister, in the stroller and along came Tom! A man always known for his timely efficiency. Sadly, Nancy, Tom and their older brother, Jack, lost their mother when they were young children. The three siblings were separated from each other throughout their childhood but lovingly reconnected years later. As a young man, Tom entered multiple foster homes through the Catholic Bureau but had difficulty feeling at home. For grade schools, he attended Our Mother of Sorrows, St. Gabriel’s, St. Gregory’s, and Most Blessed Sacrament. When it was time to attend high school, Tom personally petitioned the Catholic Bureau to allow him to maintain a residence in a boarding house to ensure he would attend Roman Catholic High School for all four years. When at Roman Catholic, Tom was a member of the swim team and manager of the basketball team. He graduated in 1952 from the commercial program and joined the typing pool at the railroad after graduation.
Tom was drafted into the United States Army, where he served from 1954 to 1956. He completed his basic training in Alabama and then served in England and Germany. Tom said that in the evenings you could either go to the beer hall or you could take a college course. He took as many credits as he could. When he returned to the US and was back to his former job in the typing pool, a mentor named Thomas Meehan encouraged him to continue his college studies at night with the support of the railroad. Tom graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in four years and developed a love of learning that would continue to direct his life’s path.
Tom worked for the railroad as an auditor in the office of the Inspector General Revenue Protection for 52 years. His work suited his strong sense of integrity and his attention to detail. Tom also enjoyed spending time with a wonderful circle of friends from work. In the summers, a group of railroad buddies would rent a house together down the shore. One such summer was that of 1972, when Tom met Joan Hannigan in Avalon, NJ. In 1982, Tom asked Joan to be his wife. They had a beautiful wedding surrounded by their loved ones at St. Callistus and they danced the night away at the Bala Golf Club. They lived at the Academy House in Center City and then moved to Overbrook. In February 1986, they welcomed their daughter Alice Ann into the world. Alice Ann attended Sacred Heart Academy for thirteen years. The Sacred Heart community was truly a family for the Robinson’s. Joan taught kindergarten, religion, and told stories in the library; while Tom was involved in the Father’s Association and volunteered for years at the school.
A lifelong learner, in 1998 Tom graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an MS in the Dynamics of Organization. The family moved to Berwyn in 2000. Joan and Tom welcomed Ed Walsh into their family when Alice Ann and Ed married in 2017. Tom became a grandfather to Charlotte Ann Walsh in December 2021. A lover of travel, music, and theater, beloved “Papa” will be missed by all of those who knew and loved him, especially Joan, Alice Ann, Ed, Charlotte, his sister-in-law, Eileen McKenzie, and his many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, and grand nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to his Funeral Mass 11:00 A.M. Saturday, October 21, 2023 at St. Norberts Church, 50 Leopard Road, Paoli, PA 19301 where friends may call 9:45 -10:45 A.M. at the Church. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA 19050.
In lieu of flowers, family request contributions be made to Sacred Heart Academy, 480 S, Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. http://www.shabrynmawr.org/ or SISTERS OF SAINT JOSEPH, Mount Saint Joseph Convent, 9701 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118-2694.