Obituary: William B. Robbins — former Darien resident, World War II Air Force veteran
William B. Robbins, 94, Morehead City, died Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, at Carteret Health Care, Morehead City, North Carolina.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Mr. Robbins is survived by his daughter Pamela R. Phillips and her husband, Walter, of Newport, and son Thayer B. Robbins and his wife Martha, of Darien, Conn.; grandchildren Kristin R. Wood and husband, Garrett, Leland; Jennifer Evans and husband, Michael, Wilmington; Mary S. Robbins, Chapel Hill; Rebecca S. Robbins and William G. Robbins, New York City, and one great-granddaughter, Savannah Wood, of Leland.
Mr. Robbins was preceded in death by his wife, Janet, of 68 years in 2015, his parents, Elizabeth B. Robbins and Charles F. Robbins, and his brothers, Walt and Charlie.
Born Aug. 20, 1922, in Orange, N.J., Mr. Robbins was graduated from the Choate School, Wallingford, Conn., attended the Babson Institute of Business Administration in 1941-42 before being commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps where he instructed pilots in flying the B-24 Liberator for the duration of World War II.
In 1945, following the war, with help from his father, he established Chatham Laboratories Inc. in Whippany, N.J., which developed the first household powdered bleach approved for sale by A&P Grocery stores.
In the late 1950's he joined Young & Rubicam Advertising in New York City as an account supervisor, working on General Foods, Procter & Gamble and the Borden Co. At that time the Robbins moved from Chatham, N.J. to Darien, CT., where the lived until 1974. The Robbins were active members of the Noroton Presbyterian Church, where Mr. Robbins served as an elder. In 1958 they joined the Wee Burn Country Club, and retained this membership until 1974 when they moved to North Carolina.
In 1969, he joined Hardee’s Food Systems, Rocky Mount, as vice president and director of marketing. Developing a marketing department, he helped build Hardee’s from 169 franchises in nine Southeastern states to over 600 in 36 states.
Leaving Hardee's in 1974, he and his wife were among the first residents of Pine Knoll Shores where they had built a house on the ocean in 1973. Subsequently, they purchased a home in Green Valley, Ariz., migrating seasonally. Selling these homes in 1988, they bought a house in Alburg, VT., on Lake Champlain, and began a seasonal migration between North Carolina and Vermont until finally settling in Morehead City in 2014.
Mr. Robbins received an honorary degree from Babson in 1995. He was the great nephew of A.G. Spalding, of baseball and sporting goods fame and was an avid golfer. He was very active in bringing Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, to the state of Vermont.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the Noroton Presbyterian Church, Darien, CT. 06820.