Father Lawrence F. Robinson, SJ, longtime teacher at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon, died peacefully of natural causes on December 30, 2020, at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 88 years old and a Jesuit for 68 years.
Fr. Robinson was born in Tacoma on February 24, 1932, one of five children of David and Sarah Gallagher Robinson. He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma in 1950 and after two years at Seattle University, entered the Oregon Province novitiate at Sheridan, Oregon, in 1952. Philosophy studies were made at Gonzaga University, where he also earned a master’s in history, and theology studies were made at Regis College in Toronto. He was ordained a priest in Spokane on June 12, 1965.
Except for a post-ordination year as vice principal at his alma mater, Bellarmine Prep, and a couple of sabbaticals in Washington, D.C., and Australia, Fr. Robinson’s ministry was in the high school classroom at Jesuit High School in Portland. First as a scholastic (1959-1962) and then as a priest (1968-2017), he was a dedicated and beloved teacher of American history, administrator, athletic director and coach. He retired from the classroom in 2003 and then helped with the development and alumni offices and wrote the school’s history. As a witness to and participant in that history for over 50 years, no one was better qualified to tell the story. His book, Honoring the Tradition, appeared in 2009.
Fr. Robinson moved to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos in 2017, but he kept in close contact with friends and alumni. Letters from former students attest to the influence he had on their lives. Fr. Robinson, in his humble way, reflected on his experience, noting, “Whatever I have accomplished at Jesuit High over the years, I’ve always felt that Jesuit has done much more for me.”
Fr. Robinson is survived by several nieces and nephews in Washington state. Funeral Masses at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center are currently not open to the public because of Covid-19 restrictions. To view Fr. Robinson’s livestreamed funeral Mass, click here.