Glen P. Robinson Jr. was the ultimate entrepreneur; one who organized and funded businesses not just for himself, but for others too.
“If Wikipedia needed a picture to go with its definition of an entrepreneur, they could surely use Mr. Robinson’s picture,” said friend, Ken Leddick of Sandy Springs. “He really understood what being an entrepreneur was all about.”
An early investor in, and co-founder of, Scientific-Atlanta, Robinson spent his career in the technology field, an industry he loved, family members said.
“He was always involved in incubator-type companies,” said his youngest son, Forrest L. Robinson. “The companies often had a technology angle, but not always. And he did it, almost until the day he died.”
Glen Parmelee Robinson Jr., who was still consulting business owners and tinkering with different technologies, collapsed in his Atlanta home Wednesday. He was transported to Saint Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Heart failure is the suspected cause, his son said. Robinson was 89.
A memorial service was held Saturday at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta. His body was cremated by H.M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel.
A native of Crescent City, Fla., Robinson’s service in the Naval Signal Corps interrupted his college years at Georgia Tech, which began in 1942. After his service was complete, Robinson returned to Georgia Tech in 1948, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics.
After graduation Robinson worked for Tech’s Engineering Experiment Station and in Tennessee at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, before returning to Atlanta in 1951 to be a part of a new company: Scientific-Atlanta. In 2005, Robinson told an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter he was brought in as a seventh founder, to be the company’s general manager and only employee. He initially worked at Scientific-Atlanta without pay and took a part time job at Georgia Tech’s research offices to make ends meet. He soon went on to become the company’s chief executive, a position he held for 20 years, family members said, and he was chairman of the board for eight years until he retired in 1979.
“Retired is actually the wrong word to use, I think,” Forrest L. Robinson said, of his father. “He never really retired. He loved to work on new ideas. He wanted to get his hands dirty. He wanted to build things and test things out.”
In addition to his youngest son, Glen Robinson is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jan Musgrove Robinson; four children, Glen P. Robinson III, Horace C. Robinson, Helena R. Shuford and Lewis M. Robinson, all of Atlanta; 12 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
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