William Robinson, 18: High honor student who loved lobstering, travel

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND − William Grant Robinson, 18, passed away unexpectedly at his home on Chebeague Island on Sept. 22. Known as William to his family and neighbors, and Will to the faculty and students at Greely High School, he was kind, considerate and polite, and was loved and admired by all who knew him.

Born in Portland Aug. 5, 1997, the son of Gene Robinson and Alnah Doughty, Robinson overcame challenges from a premature birth to become a strong and healthy young man who loved the outdoors. He was a hunter and had just received a doe permit. He spent his summers as a sternman on his father’s lobster boat and was proud when he obtained an adult lobster license.

Robinson’s mother died when he was young, but he thought of her often, especially when taking care of his pets and when working in his vegetable garden, which he planted every year. After his mother passed away, he and his father became very close. Not only did they share a love of the sea, but they also shared a love of history and the Civil War, which took them to many battlefields and museums. Robinson and his father spent many school vacations exploring the country, traveling  as far away as Texas.

Robinson came from two musical families, so it was only natural that he became a senior member of the Boy Singers of Maine as he began his 11th season with the choir. He was a high honor student at Greely High School and Portland Arts and Technology High School, where he participated in the carpentry program. Robinson planned to attend Southern Maine Community College to continue to hone his carpentry skills so he would have a winter business to complement lobstering, his real love. His teachers admired Robinson, and described him as a student with a work ethic that was second to none. He was a conscientious student who spent hours at the Chebeague Library.

Like all island kids, Robinson loved to dive off the wharf, ride his bike and fish for mackerel. He was also adept in the kitchen and loved to cook. This past summer he prepared and delivered meals to his grandmother daily. He recently told someone that it wouldn’t be long before he would be driving her around the mainland, which demonstrates his compassion and responsibility for others.

In many ways Robinson was old beyond his years. In his college essay he wrote, “In my family, the tradition goes back generations: my father, my uncle, some of my cousins and both of my grandfathers were all lobstermen. Seeing men and women work so hard in order to make a dollar really made me respect the lobstering industry, and I realized how important every cent is to the person who earned it.”

Candlelight vigils were held in his memory on Chebeague and at Greely, and each drew more than 200 people. The student body at Greely High School decided to honor Robinson by holding doors open for others, just as he did. A teacher at Greely described the event: “When I walked into school this morning and saw senior students holding the doors open for people as Will had done almost every day, I was struck by what influence he had on people.”

Robinson was predeceased by his mother, Alnah Doughty; his maternal grandmother, Louise James Doughty; his paternal grandfather, Bernard “Bud” Robinson; and an uncle, Jeffery Doughty.

He is survived by his father, Gene Robinson, his grandmother, Joan Robinson, his grandfather, Cecil Amos Doughty and two uncles, Mike Robinson and Chris Doughty, all of Chebeague Island; two aunts, Melissa Doughty of Casco and Linda Larrabee of Brunswick; many cousins and a large extended family.

Interment was  held at the Chebeague Island Cemetery after a private service of remembrance.

In recognition of Robinson’s love of travel, a memorial fund is being established in his name to support field trips at the Chebeague Island School. Contributions can be sent to: William Robinson Memorial Field Trip Fund, c/o Chebeague Island School, 14 Schoolhouse Road, Chebeague Island ME 04017. 

William G. Robinson