In Memoriam: Sam Robinson II

Megan Sweeney
WMS pays its respects to Sam Robinson II, Head of School from 1988 to 1993, who died on Sunday, January 6th.
WMS mourns the passing of former Head of School Sam Robinson II, who died Sunday, January 6th at the age of 71. A career educator, Sam Robinson dedicated 35 years of his life to various academic institutions, and in his five-year tenure as Head of The White Mountain School, he transformed our School irrevocably.

Sam Robinson is remembered at WMS for the bonds he forged with students and for his strong belief in the power of experiential learning and outdoor education. Sam also established educational programs like English as a Second Language and the Learning Assistance Program, programs that are still used by our community every day.
Even now, we remember Sam’s contributions to WMS with The Samuel Robinson II Community Service Award, which is awarded annually to that student who has gone to extraordinary lengths to serve their community and its institutions. “With this award,” said former Board Chair Ruth Cook ’55, P’91 when she first presented it in 1993, “we honor Sam’s commitment to broadening our scope of education to include service to one’s community.”
WMS thanks Sam for his role in making the School what it is today. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

We would also like to include his obituary, for those who wish to read about his life before and after WMS:

“Samuel Robinson II, 71, experiential educator and former head of several New England schools, died Sunday, January 6th at his home in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he resided with his loving wife, Linda Smart Robinson.

He was born August 20th, 1941 in New York City, son of the late Thomas Lombard Robinson and Elizabeth Willcox Robinson.

After studying economics at Harvard College, working as a purser on an ocean liner in South America, and serving in the Marine Corps, he ran Living West, a newspaper in Framingham, Massachusetts.

He moved to Buffalo, NY in 1976 to be the business manager of Nichols School. This opportunity, along with the birth of his children, sparked a 35-year career in education.

In 1981, he was named Headmaster of North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth, Maine, a private day school, and later, Headmaster of The White Mountain School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire and assistant Head of School Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, MA. At all three schools he earned a reputation as a proponent of outdoor education, a savvy recruiter of teachers, and a passionate mentor of students.

For more than 15 years he taught courses at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Maine. He considered a 30-foot sailboat in stormy seas to be the ideal classroom, for adjudicated youth and mid-career professionals alike. He loved encouraging students to swim at dawn with him in the icy water of Penobscot Bay.

Most recently, he worked at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, overseeing the accreditation of private secondary schools in the Northeast and throughout the world. He advocated for racial and economic diversity in independent schools, and with Dr. Maria Alexander-Bridges, founded the Center for Equity and Excellence in Education. Until his death, he mentored troubled youth in Boston and students in the Harvard Graduate School of Education (where he received his Masters degree in 1989). He served on the boards of the Winchendon School, The Field Academy, and Waltham Farm, and led kayaking expeditions for military veterans on the Charles River.

He, his wife Linda, and their poodle Emy cherished time at their house in Lyman, NH, where with the help of a John Deere tractor they created a two-mile cross-country skiing trail in the woods and a vegetable garden with legendary tomato yields.

He is survived by three children from his marriage to Mimo Gordon Riley of Providence, R.I., including Samuel Robinson III of Philadelphia, PA, Lewis Gordon Robinson of Portland, ME, and Jesse Cooke Robinson of Jamaica Plain, MA; three grandchildren; two brothers, Thomas Lombard Robinson, Jr. of Bridgeport, CT and Blake Willcox Robinson of Darien, CT; and two step-children from his marriage to Linda Smart Robinson, Jeffrey James Lagomarsino and Kimberly Anne Lagomarsino, both of New York City.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to support melanoma research and patient care: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via www.dana-farber.org/gift.”