Fred C. Robison tossed the lines for his final voyage on May 28, 2017 surrounded by his children at his home by the sea in Depoe Bay. His age, a few weeks short of his 95th birthday.
Fred was born in Tillamook June 18, 1922. At the age of two weeks, he traveled with his mother aboard the coastal freighter Roamer to join his family in Taft.
His parents, Fred C. and Effie May owned the Siletz Bay Trading Post. Roads into the area did not exist at the time. The Siletz Bay was the hub for freight to north Lincoln County and lower Siletz River. Small coastal freighters would cross the Siletz bar taking supplies in and lumber and canned salmon out.
His childhood was spent carving and building wooden boats under the direction of his grandfather Pop Alley, a master shipwright, playing on the Taft beach, and jumping in his rowboat to visit the lumber schooners and tugboats that would enter the Siletz Bay.
His uncle Martin Guchee, captain of the tugboat Chahunta, had a great influence in Fred’s love and understanding of boats and the sea. Of his early childhood Fred often commented “All I needed was my rowboat, fishing pole and my dog.”
Fred graduated from Taft High School and took work as a timber cruiser in the Upper Siletz. In his life span he had witnessed the transition of the Siletz River system from a virgin territory to what it is today.
During World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard where he served in the South Pacific. After the war he went on to study at University of Oregon.
He married Beverly Margeson and settled in Depoe Bay in 1947. For his profession he chose to be a part of a developing charter boat fleet in the small harbor.
Fred and Beverly owned Jimco Sportfishing for 30 years while raising a family of six children.
During the winter months in the early 1960’s Fred was part of the crew on Oregon State University’s first research vessel “Acona”. He often commented “everything we did out there was new”. This research experience created within him a profound interest in oceanography and to be an advocate for good stewardship of the oceans.
In 1968 he and naval architect Lynn Seynor designed the charter boat Jimco II. This design was to be truly innovative and influenced many of the charter boat hulls in use today. The speed and capabilities of the Jimco II opened up new opportunities for him, new charter fishing grounds, transporting injured Russians back to their ships, and servicing Oregon State’s first research buoy “TOTEM”.
Fred always involved his children in things that were important to him, rowboats, boat design, fishing grounds, and oceanography. It wasn’t every kid in the early 60’s that could take to show and tell real specimens and stories of what the research ship scientists found out in the deep.
Fred later married Betty Labhart and they moved to Kona Hawaii for ten years.
Upon returning to Depoe Bay, Fred continued his work as a marine surveyor. Both he and his loving wife Betty were active in the community, their door, always open to their many caring friends that enriched their lives.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Effie, three sisters: Louise, Doris and Laurel; and his wives Beverly and Betty.
He is survived by his children and their spouses: Suzie and Mark Snyder, “Beanie” Frederick Robison and Jacque Lou Swinford, Pogo Robison and Carol Morgan, Krista Robison, Lars Robison and Liz Martin. Grandchildren: Grant (Jennifer) Snyder, Lauren Hinton and husband Chad, their children: Lane and Teal, Kasey Watson and Kai, Autumn Watson, Vaughn Robison, Rosalyn Robison, Mackenzie Martin (Matt Gambone), and Ross Martin.
His constant companion and dear wife Betty died in February 2017. Her children and grandchildren are also another important part of “the crew”. They are: daughter Debbie Greismeyer and husband John; son Robert Labhart; grandchildren: Troy (Trina), Trevor Greismeyer and Justin Labhart. Great grandchildren: Mia, Ellie, Trey Greismeyer, and Hanna and Molly Labhart.
He was an adoring father. His family was the love of his life. At Fred’s request, the family is inviting all friends to a gathering. Saturday, June 17 at the Depoe Bay Community Hall, 4:00pm – 7:00pm. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Pacific Communities Hospice Foundation.