William Gane "Bill" Robinson

November 25, 2018

William Gane “Bill” Robinson, 81, born on July 1, 1937, died peacefully on November 25, 2018 while surrounded by his beloved and caring wife, Annette, and family.

Bill was born a native Charlottean to parents Dr. Charles W. and Mildred Robinson. The Robinson family settled in Mecklenburg County prior to the Revolutionary War. As a child, he attended Dilworth, A.G. and Central High and was raised at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Bill matriculated to NC State where he majored in engineering and joined the PKA fraternity where he made life-long friends. After college, Bill left North Carolina and moved to California. With a slide rule in hand, Bill helped Douglas Aircraft design the Nike Hercules missile and performed wind tunnel testing on its rockets. After leaving Douglas, Bill joined a brokerage firm. Soon thereafter, like most of his generation, he left to join the military.

Bill drove tanks in the Mojave Desert and his unit prepared to battle the Soviets during the Berlin Crisis but, luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and the country avoided conflict.           

Following military service, Bill attended the UNC Chapel Hill Law School. He married Theo Robinson while a law student and upon passing the bar; his oldest son, Shel, was born.

After beginning private practice in Charlotte, Bill and Theo welcomed another son, Randy.

Bill was one of the last of the general practice attorneys, but he primarily served as a trial lawyer. He tried murder, felony and divorce cases, drew wills and corporate documents, and counseled countless clients who often leaned on him during the most difficult times of their lives.

In 1972, Bill ran for District Court Judge and became the first elected Republican Judge in Mecklenburg County since Reconstruction. Judge Robinson presided over juvenile court and domestic court in addition to high-profile and newsworthy cases. He recognized the needs of families and children in those arenas. During that process, helped found The Relatives, a non-profit transition home for teenagers. He personally housed juveniles from the court system with his own family and he helped to implement standard child-support guidelines to minimize legal costs and family angst during the divorce process. Those guidelines were soon implemented in most of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

Bill returned to private practice and while practicing law, he founded Robinson Realty and began to acquire real estate in Mecklenburg County and the South Carolina shore. Bill retired from the legal world in 1996 but continued to work at Robinson Realty where he worked with Ron and Rebecca Carriker. Bill was equally adept at painting and mowing his properties’ lawns as he was with reading a financial statement.

Along the way, Bill found time to live life as he chose. As a Judge, he raced motocross against 18-year old boys. Bill’s family is willing to bet he was the only Judge to show up for Court wearing a cast after crashing his dirt bike after jumping a creek in his weekly motocross races. He sailed the Abacos and Caribbean on a catamaran, wind-surfed, and skin dived for lobster and grouper.

At home, Bill became a runner and a tennis player during the running and tennis booms of the 1970s. He loved tennis with friends at Olde Providence, where he served on the Board. He played state seniors tournaments, won a super-senior state championship and played five days a week at midday, regardless of the 95-degree sun or the freeze of winter.

Bill loved being with his grandchildren. He watched countless soccer, tennis and sports matches, including nine years of matches at Myers Park High, and he played tennis, swam and went to the beach with all of them. He drove them in his white, convertible Cadillac with the top down. Perhaps most importantly, he was content to lead a life that they could emulate, while providing quiet advice and companionship without ever criticizing or judging. Bill always gave and never took. He was the person that helped you move, that rolled out his neighbors’ trash, and that handed out a present and never wanted one in return. He truly loved his family and his friends.

Bill was predeceased by his parents and his second wife, Katherine “Kate” Robinson.

Annette and Bill married in 2006. They shared wonderful times together travelling and spending time together and with family and friends. In addition to Annette, Bill is survived by his children, Shel Robinson and his wife, Stacy, and Randy Robinson and his wife, Dr. Wanda Robinson, all of Charlotte; and Shel and Randy’s respective children, Shel, Jr., Braxton, Charlie and Abigail. He is also survived by Annette’s son, Mason Evans, and his daughters, Molly and Caroline. Bill is survived by his sister, Louise Singleton and her husband Dr. John Singleton; brother, Dr. Charles W. and wife, Cynthia Robinson, his youngest brother, Rev. Stephen Robinson and wife, Virginia, and their families. Bill is further survived by Kate’s children, Ron Carriker and wife, Rebecca, and Trilby Carriker, as well as Ron and Rebecca’s children, Trent and Kipp.

Annette and Bill were proud and faithful members of Myers Park United Methodist Church where they have enjoyed the Wesley Sunday School class and Bill has served as a lay reader and usher.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at Myers Park United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends in Jubilee Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers please remember the Music Program at Myers Park Methodist Church, or the Levine Cancer Center and, most importantly, to love and care for your family and neighbors as Bill did.


Share your memories & condolences


  • Marry Dale Harris

    My husband, Al Harris, and I send our love and deepest sympathy to the entire Robinson family and to all who knew and loved Bill Robinson. He lived an extraordinary life---in fact about three or four lives, as his obituary indicates--- full of accomplishments, service to his fellow man and deep love for his family and friends. My family and Bill's were very close friends and I knew him best as a youngster-- full of energy, excitement and friendliness--traits he exhibited his whole life. He will be greatly missed.

  • Leigh Hasty Spach

    I'm so very sorry for the loss of your dad! My dad and I have had some good talks about their motor cycle riding days. Two attorneys who stepped outside of the norm to find fun and adventure. I pray that time will ease your grieving and pain. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    God's Speed,

  • Fred Dula

    I am so blessed to have had Bill as such a great friend for over 43 years. Words cannot even begin to express our sorrow. Edie and I offer our condolences to Annette and Bill's wonderful family.

  • Reid and Nancy Shoemaker

    To Annette and to Steve and wife Virginia - very sorry to learn about the passing of Bill --Bill, Steve , and Charles and I had a lot of special times growing up in the same neighborhood a long time ago --God Bless and take care ----Love , Nancy and Reid Shoemaker

  • Chase Saunders

    Let me express my condolences upon the passing of your father. His obituary summed up a life which I observed with envy over the years. Your father got more out of life and enjoyed it more than anybody else I can think of. He surfed it with skill as he moved from one thing to the other. From my observations, he mastered all of them. After he left the bench I would hear about him from his tennis buddies and was astounded to learn of his skill and success in a competitive sport long after most athletes had been forced into retirement. I considered that he had an extraordinary life having actually lived the bucket list which most of us only imagine. And he left this world having helped raise a family of successful and genuinely good people. I will miss him. Chase

  • Kitty Stevens

    My parents, Lindy and Enid Stevens, were friends of Bill’s at Olde Prividence Racquet Club. They talk so highly of Bill and will miss him dearly.

  • John Hasty

    Shel, I still fondly remember riding bikes with Bill and remember his calm,easy way with every thing he encountered. He was an outstanding example of us "old guys" trying to ply this trade of ours in the way it ought to be, but seems to be fast fading away into the forgotten past. I know you represent the best of your dad and I wish you and the family the best in this difficult time.

  • Sheri Meyer

    Annette and family I am so sadden by the passing of Bill. He was one of the most caring and wonderful men I have ever know. I always enjoyed being around the two of you on our trips together or just having dinner together. Such a gentleman and you took wonderful care of him through his illness. My prayers are with you and the family.

    Bob and Sheri Meyer

  • Margaret Alexander Farthing

    What a great role model! I remember him well at Covenant Presbyterian youth group. My sympathy to his wife and family.

  • Margaret Alexander Farthing

    What a wonderful man, husband, father, and a role model . I remember him from Covenant Presbyterian Church and his participation in the youth activities.

Load More