Hardworking, compassionate, opinionated, and ahead of her time.
Those are the marquee words describing Jill Blosser Robinson, who loved volunteering as much as she loved her family and business.
She died last month after a long illness at the age of 78.
I’m proud to have known her for nearly 30 years. She was the kind of friend who kept you on your toes. If you debated her, you better have your facts straight. If you worked on a project together, you better do the job right.
She’d share a story tip by saying, “Why aren’t you looking into …. ?” She said it with a tone implying any newsman worth his salt would have already known about it.
Determined to Make Fresno a Better Place
Robinson was a life-long Fresnan. She grew up on Michigan Avenue near Dailey Elementary School and graduated from Bullard High in 1959. Then it was off to University of the Pacific in Stockton. She graduated in four years with a degree in international relations.
An obituary written by family members captured her perfectly.
“She viewed friends as family and was often organizing or hosting events for family, friends or clubs — from shish-ka-bob for 200 in the back yard to ladies luncheons, men’s dinners, or holiday gatherings. She was always inclusive, excessively organized, the consummate hostess, and an excellent cook.”
Her passion for life and making Fresno a better place paid dividends for many nonprofits and the people they served.
Busy, Busy, Busy
Long before Chevron’s ad agency came up with the concept, Robinson was a “doer.”
Robinson owned and operated Blosser’s Sports Equipment with her brother Don, sister-in-law Pat, and husband Jud, for more than 40 years. She served on the Valley Children’s Hospital board for 25 years.
At times, her jammed calendar seemingly required her to be two places at once. That’s because she also was involved with the Junior League of Fresno, Holiday Boutique, Holiday Guild, Central California Daughters of the Nile, First Congregational Church, The Central California Women’s Conference, and Fig Garden Women’s Club. And she served as Kappa Alpha Theta adviser.
Robinson wasn’t bashful about dispensing advice — words of wisdom she had accumulated throughout her life. An example is what she always told her daughter and granddaughters: “Try your best. If you try your best, it is the best you can do. Even if your best isn’t good enough.”
The Menu Better Include Chinese
It’s impossible to talk about Robinson without bringing up Chinese food.
“She’d eat it every day if she could,” says her daughter, Heidi. “On a trip to Hawaii, she nearly did. We had Chinese lunch and dinner for 14 straight days.”
Jill is survived by her husband of 55 years, Justin “Jud” David Robinson; daughter Heidi Katrina Simpson; granddaughters Megan Riley Simpson and Makenna Renee Simpson; brother Don Jay Blosser; niece Jody Blosser-Tejeda and husband, Steve K. Tejeda; sister-in-law, Sonja Robinson; niece Patty Leyendecker, nephew Tom Robinson, niece Linda Keane, nephew Mike Robinson, and nephew Doug Robinson.
A memorial service will be held Monday, Dec. 23, 10 a.m., at the First Congregational Church in Fresno, 2425 N. Van Ness Blvd., Fresno, CA, 93704. A reception will follow.
Remembrances may be made to:
— Valley Children’s Hospital, 9300 Valley Children’s Place, Madera, CA 93636-8762 or at this link.
— Shriners Hospital for Children-Northern California, 2425 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95817 or at this link.
— The First Congregational Church, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd., Fresno, CA, 93704