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Remembering longtime Tampa Times columnist Charlie Robins

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 04:36 PM
TAMPA -

Charlie Robins was a longtime journalist best known for daily columns about his native Tampa.

Robins, who was battling cancer, died Tuesday night at his Tampa home. He was 79.

His lengthy journalism career was spent at The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Times and The Ledger in Lakeland.

Robins' "Around Our Town" column tackled topical subjects but also was about his own life.

"He also wrote about the stupid things that happened at home with me or the kids," said Robins' wife of 55 years, Carol. "And a lot of people could relate to that."

Robins worked as a copy boy for the Tribune in college, then landed a reporting job after graduating from the University of Tampa in 1958. He left in 1962 to take a job with the public information office at the University of South Florida but returned to newspapers in 1964, taking a job with The Tampa Times. He worked as the real estate editor before resuming daily column duties.

After the Times folded in 1982, Robins wrote twice-weekly columns for The Ledger in Lakeland for the last 11 years of his career.

Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco remembers Robins as an experienced newspaperman with a slew of sources.

"In those days, Charlie knew everybody in town who was involved in anything," Greco said. "It made the column somewhat personal."

Robins "was always very jovial, a happy-go-lucky, hard-working" columnist, often laboring into the late-night hours, Greco said.

"Years of experience make a big difference," he said. "You can draw from things you know and people you know."

In his spare time, Robins enjoyed working on electronics, his wife said.

"He would go to thrift shops, buy radios, fix them up and give them to the children of his co-workers," she said. "That was back when radios were more popular.

"He was always a very gentle, generous person. He was usually just as humorous and funny around the house most of the time," she said.

"He always knew a joke and had lot of trivia in his head and brought out a lot things nobody ever heard of."

In addition to his wife, survivors include daughter Susan Daley of Melbourne Beach, son Les Robins of Tampa and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be scheduled and announced in about 10 days.


gwilkens@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7124

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