Memorial Day Week is a fitting time to learn of the passing of a professional colleague and someone that I am proud to have considered a friend. Willie Horace (Will) Robinson died suddenly on May 24, 2010. As with all of those we love and care about, the loss of a colleague, friend or family member is difficult. Thinking about Will makes me sad; as the world has lost a wonderful man, and I’m sure his family is sad and grieving at the loss of his quick wit, compelling laugh, and big heart.
Although I knew Will in only a professional context, and hadn’t seen him in a few years, there were many nights over the years where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and shared a Sambuca or two and talked about life, family, his military experiences, and of course, business. Will was an extremely principled man, and struggled at times, like many of us in FDA-regulated companies, at striking the right balance between doing the “right” thing and surviving in a hostile environment. Will often made reference to his Vietnam service experience and how relevant it was in the Corporate setting. I’m not sure which he thought was the more difficult challenge – keeping his head down in Vietnam or keeping his head down in Corporate America.
I remember Will fondly and regularly speaking of his family. He was always very proud of their accomplishments and of the close relationship they had.
I met Will at C.R. Bard where he headed the Regulatory Compliance group. Will was a Vice President of Quality at MedPointe Pharmaceutical in NJ for a period, and I believe his last gig was at Baxter as a Vice President. I had been trying to locate Will to reconnect after not seeing him a few years but unfortunately, did not do so before he died. I had heard he had made it into retirement and hopefully enjoyed some peaceful time after a life of contribution and commitment.
My thoughts and prayers are with Will’s family. FDA-regulated industry has experienced a significant loss with Will’s passing. He was truly one of the good guys.
A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, June 4, 2010 – 11 a.m. at the Deborah Wilson Funeral Home, 216 W est Coulter Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144-3916