Jacob H. Robbins obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Jacob H. Robbins

March 5, 1924 - November 13, 2016

Obituary


Dr. Jacob H. (Jack) Robbins, 92, passed away on November 13, 2016. Born the sixth child of eight to Bernard and Anna on March 5, 1924, Jack was the first child born in America. When the official at Ellis Island couldn't pronounce the family name of Robinowitz he suggested to Bernard a name change to Robins. Bernard said "fine." And the official said, "Since you are so agreeable, let's spell it with two b's" to which Bernard said "fine" again. And thus, Jacob H. was the first one born with Robbins as their new name.

Dr. Jacob H. (Jack) Robbins, 92, passed away on November 13, 2016. Born the sixth child of eight to Bernard and Anna on March 5, 1924, Jack was the first child born in America. When the official at Ellis Island couldn't pronounce the family name of Robinowitz he suggested to Bernard a name change to Robins. Bernard said "fine." And the official said, "Since you are so agreeable, let's spell it with two b's" to which Bernard said "fine" again. And thus, Jacob H. was the first one born with Robbins as their new name.

The family moved to California at the beginning of Jack's high school years where he was a National Honor Scholar and athletic star in basketball and track and field at Santa Monica High. His basketball team won state championships with him at center and many of his track and field school records stood for decades after his graduation.

Upon Jack's high school graduation, the world was at war. He wanted to help the war effort and he returned to Detroit where the family was living and he went to work in the Cadillac factory that had been retro-fitted to produce tanks for the US Army. He felt the call of duty and, despite his father's wishes, he enlisted in the US Army. After reviewing Jack's high school academic records, the Army first assigned Jack to an engineering school in Chicago. After six months, the Army decided to fast-track Jack through pre-med undergraduate courses to meet the military's need for more physicians in WW II. After eighteen months split between University of Chicago and North Dakota University, Jack completed his pre-med undergraduate work which coincided with the end of WWII. But his education was almost derailed by his love of basketball. A pick-up game of basketball almost derailed his education when a professor at The University of Chicago let him know that despite his straight A's, he was being paid by the Army to study and not play basketball.

At the end of World War II and graduation in 1946, the scramble began to find a medical school that had not fulfilled its Jewish quota. During his research, Jack found the fledgling Southwestern Medical College (now UT Southwestern Medical School) and was a member of the sixth graduating class.

On a spring day at Southwestern, his fraternity brothers took him to a Sunday tea hosted by a Jewish sorority on the SMU campus after a raucous night of "blowing off steam," as Jack often described it. Reluctant and hungover, Jack went and met his beautiful Annie. They were engaged in three weeks and married three months later. His soon to be father-in-law insisted Jack be Bar Mitzvah before the wedding. The wedding weekend consisted of Jack's Bar Mitzvah on Shabbos and Jack and Annie's nuptials on Sunday. Upon graduation, Jack and Annie moved to California for Jack's residency at L.A. County Hospital where their first child, Shel, was born in 1948.

Jack and Annie returned to Dallas where Jack hung his shingle and opened his medical office on Forest Avenue in South Dallas. Jack and Annie added to the family when Joan was born in 1951 and Scott came along in 1954 to complete the Robbins Nest. Thus began the life that was "Jack and Annie." It was one full of commitment to family, Jack's family medical practice, social diversity and political, community and religious activity.

As the community moved north, Jack moved his office to Hillside Village and then onto Forest Lane in North Dallas, just a few minutes from the dream home Jack and Annie had built. As Presbyterian Hospital was coming on board in the early 1970's, Jack became one of the first physicians on staff of the new hospital and one of the first occupants of the first Professional Building. Dr. Jack was never the physician that "left work at work." Many times, in different social circumstances, he would respond to medical questions with intense listening, compassion and interest. He was always approachable and never dismissive.

After selling his practice, Jack became highly involved in addiction medicine that took him and Annie to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where Jack was the medical director and addiction medicine specialist at a new facility. After a couple of years, they returned to Dallas where Jack worked part time as a physician at numerous PrimaCare facilities across the city. When Jack retired from full and part- time practice, he had practiced medicine for over fifty years. Even then, Jack never really strayed far from medicine. Once he and Annie had retired and were happily living at Town Village North, Jack and Annie reunited with many old friends as well as making many new ones. There he started a Parkinson's support group where he combined his knowledge of medicine and recovery to provide comfort to those suffering from their debilitating disease.

Jack was never one to shy from community involvement. After the tragedy of November 1963, Jack became involved at the grass roots level of politics in 1964. Jack became a precinct chairman and was active in electing a new President. His involvement earned him and Annie an invitation to the Johnson Presidential Inauguration. It was one of both Jack and Annie's favorite memories.

With the family growing and learning more about his Judaism, Jack became a Sunday school teacher at Congregation Shearith Israel. As his eldest became a teenager, Jack became involved with the B'Nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO), first beginning with sex talks at local chapters and eventually at district and regional conventions where these talks became legendary. It was there he imparted to many youth the importance of commitment in a relationship. His expanded involvement led to him becoming chairman of the Greater Dallas BBYO. During his involvement, he was able to see two generations of teens benefit from the companionship, leadership, and friendships built in BBYO in Dallas.

While Jack was early in his practice in Dallas, he learned his favorite sport, golf. Beginning on the municipal courses in Dallas, Jack's love affair with the game began. He joined The Columbian Club of Dallas before his youngest was born in 1954. The club was a focal point where Jack could merge play, stress relief and family time for the next twenty years. There were days, early in their childhood, where all three children were seen on the course at Columbian accompanied by both Jack and Annie. Summertime Thursdays were legendary for the family. It was Jack's day off when he would play golf with his best friends in the morning, swim with the family in the afternoon and dress and enjoy the Thursday night Buffet and Bingo.

Unfortunately, several back and hip injuries and surgeries cut his golf career short in 1973. After dealing with the discomfort, Jack lost his way while dealing with his pain. He joined Annie in recovery early in the 1980's where he dedicated his life to helping others. The friends of Bill W. led Jack and Annie into a life of self-discovery and serenity. Addiction carried a stigma. Dr. Jack consulted with Rabbis to create a new recovery group specifically for the Jewish community. Because of his knowledge of medicine and recovery coupled with his sense of humor, Dr. Jack became a valued speaker at many clubs.

There was never anything that made Jack and Annie's eyes sparkle more than their grandchildren. Spread over many years of birth, as they all aged, Jack enjoyed being with each of them individually and as a group. Holidays became legendary as Jack and Annie's house was the epicenter of raucous celebrations, love and joy. Jack was always interested in what his grandchildren were doing and boasted with pride as they described their goals, dreams and achievements to him. Then they all knew they had to sit back and let Jack tell them the how, what and where of what their cousins were doing. They all received a full measure of his love.

Jack and Annie had a variety of friends that they cherished. From the crazy Pot Luck dinners to the cerebral duplicate bridge group to the raucous competitive golf with Max, Don and others and to the joy found in the recovery friends, each group and person was special to them. Wherever they were, their house was always open. A chaotic place to gather for parties, holidays or just friendship, both kids and adults left with a sense they were part of the family. Jack will be remembered by all his family, friends and patients as a loving, compassionate, funny human being.

The end of an era.

Jack is survived by his brother Richard, daughters Shel Kasmir and Joan (Charles) Ford and son Scott (Lisa Lipkin) Robbins, and grandchildren Darren Kasmir (Danielle Geoffrion), Justin Kasmir, Genna Ford, Jessica Waldron (Jonathan) and Daniel Robbins and many nephews and nieces.