Our community and the Richmond SPCA lost a truly remarkable role model, supporter and philanthropist a few days ago when Lora Robins passed away at 98. She was a generous donor to the Richmond SPCA for many years and, as many of you know, our gift shop is named for her. She served as the Honorary Chair of our Fur Ball a number of years ago. We were fortunate to be among the many Richmond organizations that benefited greatly from her enormous kindness and her sincere desire to see her money be used to do great good for others in our community. Lora Robins defined the spirit of giving. She also was a great lover of beauty and art and did so much to provide others with access to the experience of beauty and art so as to improve the quality of their lives.
I will miss her greatly and think about all of the many ways in which her and her family’s philanthropy has touched me and my family personally. My husband and I met in law school at the University of Richmond, a university that was made into a well respected institution of learning through the remarkable philanthropy and astonishing vision of E. Claiborne Robins, Sr. A few years later, I worked for A. H. Robins Pharmaceuticals as a young attorney and found it to be a wonderful family-like atmosphere that I adored. It was during a difficult period for the company that I worked there and Mr. Robins gave me a life lesson in what grace under pressure looks like. He never once was anything but a gracious and thoughtful gentleman regardless of the behavior of others. I loved my years working there and was greatly saddened when the company was sold causing my departure.
When I began working for the Richmond SPCA, Claiborne Jr. took on a leadership role that was absolutely crucial to the growth that we have had as an organization and the thousands of lives we have saved. This organization could never thank him enough for all he has done and continues to do for us. He has carried on his parent’s legacy of both personal generosity and real, honest hard work for the causes that they care about. When he began to assume such a crucial leadership role for us, Mrs. Robins joined in to support him enthusiastically. I will never forget her obvious delight at our progress and her kindness to me personally. She was a great source of motivation for me.
Lora Robins had a long life and it was a life very well lived. She touched the lives of an incalculable number of other people for the better. Her passing can be seen as a great loss for the Richmond SPCA, among so many other non-profit organizations, and for our community. But, were she here, she would counsel for a positive outlook. So, the right view is that our lives were all greatly improved by the treasure of having her be a part of us for almost a century.
The best thing each of us can do to honor her memory and emulate her example is to give generously financially and of ourselves to the cause or causes that we find deeply meaningful. As Mrs. Robins showed us, the best part of life is to make it better for others.
Robin Robertson Starr
Chief Executive Officer
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