Robeson, Andrew

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Andrew Robeson, professor emeritus of Virginia Tech, beloved family patriarch and lifelong member of the Blacksburg community, reached the end of a deeply rich life on July 10, 2022. He was 96 years old.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Frank Leigh Robeson and Mary Matthews Robeson, sisters Helen Robeson, Mary Wood Pendleton, Martha Robeson and Amenta Sjogren, and by his beloved wife Jean, who passed away February 10, 2022.

He is survived by his four children: Martha Rodgers (John), Catherine Cunningham (Michael), Andrew Gordon Robeson (Elaine),
and James Robeson, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, along with a number of beloved nieces and nephews.

Born in Blacksburg April 20, 1926, Andy enlisted in the Navy just before turning 18, and served aboard the USS Oglethorpe, a transport operating in the Pacific Theater at the end of WWII. After the war, he returned to VPI to complete a BS in Physics, followed by an MS and PhD from UVA.

In 1944, a blind date for a dance at the University of Richmond led to his meeting Jean White of Culpeper, Virginia; they were married June 19, 1948.

After a brief professorship at Emory University in Atlanta, Andy came home to Blacksburg. One year of teaching at VPI preceded a year at Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology, from which he returned to Blacksburg to serve for 25 years as a member of the Physics and Engineering faculty specializing in Nuclear Science. Taking early retirement in 1982, his career focus shifted to consulting for the nuclear power industry, a role that fed his and Jean’s love for travel. The extended family frequently joined them at assignments across the US where they never failed to find a scenic location for holiday adventures.

Andy was a founding member and faithful servant at Northside Presbyterian Church, a constant source of leadership and maintenance, for the congregation and also the building.

His love of baseball and golden retrievers was well-known, as was his passion for antique cars. Many Blacksburg residents will recall his 1910 Stanley steam-powered horseless carriage blowing its train whistle in town parades. He and Jean toured the country with various antique car clubs, often bringing family along for the ride.

The house Andy and Jean built on Kelsey Lane was a showcase of his building and design talent, utilizing many repurposed materials from former Tech buildings and salvaged items from other sources. Andy promised his bride that he would take care of her in their home until the end of their lives. He succeeded with the help of a wonderful network of caregivers who have become family, as well as our dedicated Carilion Clinic Hospice care team.

Those who knew him best will recall his generosity, dry wit and readiness to fix anything that needed repair. His and Jean’s zest for life was infectious, and all of us who were lucky enough to know them are truly blessed by that gift.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, October 8, 2022 at Northside Presbyterian Church, Blacksburg with a reception following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to: Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, 1300 Progress St.,
Blacksburg, VA 24060; or Northside Presbyterian Church, 1017 Progress St. Blacksburg, VA 24060; or a charity of your choice.